Despite being plagued with hardware issues (such as the Red Rings of Death) Microsoft’s 360 remains a popular console which despite the arguably better specs of the PS3 and the family orientated WII has reasonable deployment rates in most countries.  The question of if Microsoft has broken even with profits from the sale of the console is yet to be categorically established since Microsoft has spent a lot of money replacing consoles for users that failed.

Whilst the stage seems set, at least for the immediate future in regards to the three consoles (WII,Ps3 and 360), one has to wonder about the future of the 360 since if we cast our minds back Microsoft backed the HDDVD format instead of Blueray which saw another Microsoft “innovation” thrown to the wind when Microsoft got their prediction wrong.

So with 360’s failing, PS3 with its Blueray (and up until recently the ability to install Linux) and Nintendo’s offering with its unique interactive devices, it could be argued that the future seemed bleak for the 360.  In stepped project Natal.   Now after a while of speculation, predictions (and grand statements from Microsoft) Codename Natal has been given it’s official name: Kinect.

Timesonline was at the launch event and wrote a piece on the Kinect here: http://timesonline.typepad.com/technology/2010/06/microsoft-kinect-launch-and-first-hands-on-impressions.html which has quite a bit to say on the subject:

The games are fine of their type, though difficult to get excited about…..

and

You may think I am gratuitously trying to pick holes in Kinect here, but if you live in a flat with wooden floors rather than a huge concrete American house, you should seriously consider fitting sound-proofing if you don’t want your neighbours to hate, hunt and then kill you.

The price of the Kinect is rumoured to be around $150 although as I say, it’s merely a rumour.

A Youtube video shows the launch event:

and for the second time in two days I find myself wanting to quote Bill Gates:

If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.

So now I will move on to why Kinect?  Firstly I hope that nobody draws reference to the Kin phone, which received a less than enthusiastic response from the mainstream press outlets I follow, but more importantly we need to ask the question is Kinect released to prevent 360 users leaving for the arguably better spec’d PS3 with Blueray or for the more socially aware WII?  Maybe Microsoft wants to get a few more years out of the 360 in order to recoup losses it incurred through having to replace so many? or maybe something else?

Yahoo news ponders:

in a best-case scenario, Natal could extend the lifespan of the machine another four or five years…

Could Microsoft expect users to stick with them for another 5 years, Kinect or not?

Is Kinect just another example of too little too late?  Im am sure there are extra features to tout over WII’s offering, but Microsoft is releasing the Kinect in a world where the WII dominates the interactive home fun section, PS3 has the entertainment sorted (with Bluray) one can’t help but wonder who will be interested in this new “innovation”.

I decided to have a look around some forums and comments sections to try and gauge some opinion on this subject.

The stock is really going to take a dive when natal is released…..EPIC FAIL written all over it!

or

Steve Balmer should get a grip on himself… This guy’s excessive promotion and reliance on marketing is what’s destroying Microsoft’s innovation.. 10 years of zero stock growth and declining market share would normally justify calls to replace the Chief…. Microsoft’s board is either not paying attention or they don’t care…

or a possibly sarcastic response of:

I want to get a Natal and play flight simulator by holding my arms out like wings and running around the living room making “bbrrrrbbrbrbrbrbbbbrrrrrrrrrr” noises.

The comments go on and I think its safe to say that at the present time there is no “Kinect fever” gripping the planet.  Maybe its due to Nintendo being very successful with its version already or maybe its the impending PS3 release of the same type of concept?  It doesn’t surprise me since its been commented on by a few sources that the line up of launch games have a very familiar smell to them….

Kotacku makes the following comment in relation to the launch titles:

Unfortunately, it’s a pretty disappointing list…..We were expecting more from Kinect…..

We’ll wait and see what E3 has in store for Microsoft’s Kinect, but right now we’re not that impressed.

and also goes into further detail about some of them…. WII Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, Kinetimals (a cyberpet game) to name a few.

So will you want to buy into Microsoft Kinect?  Are you happy giving 360 a stay of execution for the next 5 years? (providing it doesn’t red ring before then)

Sorry Microsoft, I think with this and the Kin, 2010 isn’t going to be the year for creating a buzz.  Lets see how long it stays in the trending topic over on Twitter, and even on Twitter, Im not seeing much in the way of excitement for it, with one user commenting (and as someone always does, to find a derrogetory take on a MS product title):

Microsoft Kinect is a naming diskinect

http://twitter.com/KindleEmily/status/16134252681 and there is a link in that tweet to another less than excited article about the Microsoft “innovation”.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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