Kinect is a thin bar that, when placed close to the Xbox 360, lets users play games without a controller and requires only a wave of the hand to activate the system. Users can also navigate game menus by moving their hands, as well as give voice commands.
Kinect will be pitted against the Nintendo Wii and Sony's Move. Microsoft is betting heavily on Kinect, and has launched an aggressive marketing campaign, which has included spots on the Oprah Show and the Ellen DeGeneres Show. After a series of product failures including mobile phones, tablets, and music players, the company is hoping the Kinect technology will resonate with entire families.
Microsoft said pre-orders of the device are rapidly selling out and thousands of retailers will open at midnight on launch day. "The Xbox 360 team created a multiyear, integrated campaign showcasing real people at the heart of the experience," said Mike Delman, corporate VP of interactive entertainment business global marketing at Microsoft, in a statement. "Kinect puts consumers at the center of their entertainment, and our marketing efforts follow that same charter."
For those who already have an Xbox 360 console, Kinect as a standalone will retail for $149.99 and includes the Kinect sensor and new Kinect Adventures game, launching in November. The all-in-one Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect is priced at $299.99 and comes with the Xbox 360 4GB Console, Kinect sensor, and Kinect Adventures. An additional 16 games will also launch in November, including Kinectimals; Game Party: In Motion; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 1, The Videogame; and several fitness, sports, and action games.
Kinect will make its debut in Europe on Nov. 10, on Nov. 18 in Australia, and on Nov. 20 in Japan. Microsoft released a slimmer, less expensive version of the Xbox 360 in June for $299.