Over the past couple of days we have been talking to our retail contacts about Kinect, what their feelings are about it and what the numbers of pre-orders for the device look like. As everyone knows by now, most are taking pre-orders at a $149 price tag, but Microsoft continues to claim that they have not yet set the price.
One retailer we spoke with says that he was instructed to place special disclaimer signs on his display that the $149 price was only estimated and that pre-order was the way to insure that they would be able to get Kinect, as quantities are likely to be limited on release day.
We asked several retailers how many people had actually pre-ordered the device and all of their answers were the same: “very few.” One retail source told us, “We have to admit that it is generating a lot of discussion that we are hearing from our regular Xbox 360 customers, but most of them admit they are not going to buy it at $150.” Another retailer explained, “So far, it seems that the only ones that are really crazy about it are those that were into DDR and want to buy Dance Central, which they think is something special.”
Every retail contact that we spoke with expressed unhappiness with the price point and the titles that are going to be available at launch. Another retail source told us, “The titles just were not compelling enough. I don’t think most people saw one title that they thought that they could not live without.” We have to think that this is a problem for Kinect in a major way.
While Microsoft might not be ready to press the panic button yet, they have to be worried about the amount of negative press and less than enthusiastic reaction that Kinect seems to be generating; and the fact that the pre-order numbers are not high is surely a bad sign at this point. Hopefully, the company will find a way to slash the price of Kinect, and we think only in doing that will the company be able to generate the kind of sales numbers that they are looking for.