Is it Time for Kinect’s Critics to Eat Crow?

Is it Time for Kinect’s Critics to Eat Crow?

The holiday rush is over, and the frozen white stretch of January is sprawled out before us. Let’s cheer ourselves up by recalling the jollier (and more hectic) period we left behind. Video game holiday sales were worryingly slow at first, but they picked up at the last minute. We can already determine 2010’s Christmas retail victor: Microsoft and its Kinect sensor, which sold 8 million units within 60 days.

(Murmurs of approval, applause.)

Not a bad number at all, especially since the cynical amongst us were rolling our eyes at Project Natal in 2009, and squirming uncomfortably as Skittles the tiger frolicked with a little girl on-stage at E3 2010. We had it all figured out: Anybody who cares about motion controls already has a Wii, nobody wants to navigate menus with voice commands, Microsoft will sell, like, five Kinects, the Kinect will blow up and shoot shrapnel into the hearts of the children, etc.

Now we can only glower at the ground and scuff the dirt with our toe. Microsoft flew out of the starting gate. Is it time to eat some crow while it’s still warm?

If you still want to cling to the prophecy of the Kinect’s failure, you have grounds to do it for a little longer. Sure, the Kinect was “the” holiday item, but Christmas fame through media hype isn’t always a blessing for long-term success. Think back to the Furby, or Tickle-Me-Elmo, or the corpse of some other toy that’s currently your dog’s favorite practice prey. One Christmas success doesn’t mean much: The real test will be the summer months and the Christmas that succeeds them. It’s still possible for Kinect to dwindle out of favor.

But is that something that’s worth hoping for? Why do we hate and fear the Kinect? Are we worried that Microsoft will abandon “hardcore” gamers in favor of more tiger sims, the same way Nintendo supposedly abandoned its own core audience? Is it our inborn instinct to bristle at any kind of change in the familiar? Are we just that bothered by the idea of mothers and grandfathers indulging in a pastime that once isolated us as tech-addicted deviants?

Or maybe we just don’t want to compete with the family for TV time? Okay, that’s a valid concern.

Nevertheless, we can’t wring our hands over dwindling game sales and then grumble about the Kinect’s popularity. If people are interested in Kinect, that means they’re interested in video games–even if said games aren’t traditional fare. Any way you look at it, that is a good thing.

About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

1 Comments

  1. Clarification: That 8 million figure is the number sold into the “sales channel”. The actual sales could be considerably less (30%-40% less).

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