How Could the Microsoft Kinect Possibly Be the Fastest-Selling Consumer Electronic?
Move over, Apple. Your almighty iPad has been trumped as the fastest selling consumer electronic by none other than…wait for it…the Xbox Kinect? Surely I can’t be the only one slightly perplexed by this, right?
According to Guinness World Records, Microsoft’s hands-free motion control sensor sold 8 million units during the first two months of its release. To put these numbers into perspective, that’s an average of 133,333 units per day! Apple’s iPad, which previously held the record for being the fastest selling consumer electronic, sold 2 million units during the first two months of its release (or an average of 33,333 units per day).
The most recent sales figure for the Kinect is 10 million units sold as of March 9, 2011. Quite impressive, I must say. There are always two sides to the story, though. The second side to this story happens to reveal something slightly peculiar about consumers’ post-purchase behavior for the Kinect. On that note, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Microsoft has also boasted selling 10 million standalone Kinect games. You may be thinking that’s a lot, but you have to consider that there are also 10 million Kinect sensors floating around. That’s a 1:1 software-hardware attach rate. In other words, for every Kinect sold there was only, on average, one game purchased for that $150 accessory. To be fair, some Kinect sensors come bundled with a game (much like the Wii console being bundled with the Wii Sports game) so that is going to bring the Kinect’s attach-rate down slightly.
So how do gaming consoles compare to the Kinect with their own software-hardware attach rates? The Xbox 360, at launch, boasted a hefty 4:1 attach rate. The Wii followed closely behind with a respectable 3:1 ratio. The Playstation 3 played catch-up during its launch with a 1.5:1 attach rate.
Is the Microsoft Kinect a massive hype machine?
Now that we have some perspective with these attach rates, I can’t help but ask…why in the world would you buy a $150 accessory for your Xbox 360 to play only one game with it? (Keep in mind a new Xbox 360 itself costs only $199 so you’re practically purchasing a whole new system) Is Microsoft laughing all the way to the bank by playing consumers like a fiddle with its massive hype machine? There has to be some explanation to this madness.
One explanation for this is the lack of software for the Kinect. There just aren’t very many games out for it, let alone GOOD games. Arguably the best game for it is Dance Central, but that only appeals to you if you’re into dancing or flailing your body around your living room like a possessed soul (if you’re into that kinda thing). All joking aside, I’m sure it’s a fun game for some, but it’s definitely not to my taste. It just doesn’t seem like there are many games out there to hold the attention of Kinect owners, so instead they let it collect dust next to their plastic guitars (no offense to Guitar Hero/Rock Band players, but the music game craze came and went).
Now don’t get me wrong, I think the Kinect is a cool piece of technology with tons of potential and I think it’s great that it’s doing so well sales-wise, but sadly game developers aren’t taking full advantage of its capabilities. This is why I’m baffled as to how Microsoft managed to sell 10 million of these things, making it the fastest selling consumer electronic ever. The only concrete thing I learned from all of this is that Microsoft sure knows a thing or two about successful marketing!
So now I must turn to YOU, my fellow QLP blog readers, to help make sense of this insanity. Have I missed some obvious explanation to these contradicting sales numbers? Do you, or anyone you know, own a Kinect? Did Kinect owners simply get tricked by the hype machine, or is this shiny new electronic worth the investment?