Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor and voice control add-on for the Xbox 360 is getting a $40 price cut and will cost $110 in the United States going forward. The price cut will be offered in all North American, Latin American, and Asia Pacific regions where Kinect is sold, Microsoft says.
Customers in Australia and New Zealand will be receiving a similar price cut on October 4. But there are no plans for a price cut in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), or in Japan.
The price cuts come just as Microsoft and its video game console competitors are prepping for what is expected to be the last holiday season for the current generation of consoles, which also includes the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3. Over the previous holiday season, the Kinect was credited for a resurgence in Xbox 360 sales, and Microsoft’s console has outsold the competition each month since.
Curiously, much of the Kinect advantage can be tied to non-gaming use, which ties neatly into Microsoft’s more general entertainment plans for its Xbox brand going forward. This summer, Microsoft announced that it would be replacing the Zune Music brand with Xbox Music services, and a similar Xbox Video service is expected soon. The company has spent much of this year bolstering the console’s selection of media-related services, as well.
This fall, Microsoft will unleash a new Dashboard update for the Xbox 360 that will allow new integration with Windows 8 and provide a version of the Internet Explorer (IE) web browser.
There’s been a lot of speculation about a Kinect 2 sensor that would work better in low light conditions and in smaller rooms. A Windows version of the Kinect, which is technically superior to the Xbox 360 Kinect version, debuted earlier this year but is aimed solely at developers. It’s unlikely that a new Kinect would debut before the next Xbox console—expected in late 2013—although this week’s price cut triggers new questions about the timing of this upgrade.
Microsoft also unveiled a coming Xbox 360 Essentials Pack, which bundles a wireless controller, HDMI cable, Xbox Media Remote, and 3 months of Xbox LIVE Gold at a reduced price. That package will become available in October, Microsoft says.