According to a number of industry insiders, Microsoft plans to pull out all of the stops for the launch of the Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360 when it arrives this November. The Kinect launch is said to be bigger than the launch of the Nintendo Wii or Sony PlayStation 3, and Microsoft will be looking to pump up the hype factor.
The company is still confident that they will be able to move over 3+ million of the Kinect units this holiday season, and they are reaching out to retail partners in order to hit this target. Over 7,000 midnight launches will be held in North America alone for Kinect, which Microsoft claims shows how serious they are taking this launch and how invested they are in it.
Microsoft also has a massive media buy planned for all forms of media to advertise not only Kinect, but also the Kinect launch titles. Microsoft is hopeful that all of this advertising bombardment will lead to the Kinect being the hot “must have” item this holiday season. Of course, a lot is going to have to go right for this to happen.
Still, a number of retail sources that we have spoken with are on the fence as to how successful Kinect can or will be long term. Once source we spoke with said, “I just hope it doesn’t end up like the Sega 32X add-on and arrive with a bang and then fizzle out quickly.” Another independent video game retailer we spoke with told us, “I just don’t hear enough buzz from the customers yet, and maybe that will pick up with some advertising support from Microsoft; but I am not ordering that many to start with. Just enough to fill the couple a pre-orders I have and maybe a few more for stock and that’s it.”
Microsoft did well with the Halo: Reach launch and their marketing strategy seems to have worked well, but Kinect isn’t Halo: Reach and it carries a much higher price point. It is good to know that Microsoft is going to push hard, but it is hard to tell if they are going to be able to meet the lofty goals that they have set for Kinect.