An industry analyst DFC Intelligence doubts Microsoft’s ability to attract the casual market with its upcoming motion control technological breakthrough in the form of the Microsoft Kinect. In a report from the said market analyst, it said that as Microsoft has previously tried but failed to capture the entertainment mass-market before, so it will be now.
The Xbox 360 has a core first-person shooter audience and it will be hard to diversify beyond that. The Kinect may be a good effort into this diversification but it may not work. Microsoft may hope otherwise but DFC thinks it is highly unlikely that the Xbox 360 will make it to break into the mass market.
The Kinect is Microsoft’s latest approach into the gaming industry. It serves as an attachment to the Xbox 360 which will allow it to detect full body motion control detection in games. Microsoft hopes that this new venture would break them into the mass market scene.
According to DFC, the biggest problem for Microsoft is that it is simply just not an entertainment company. Microsoft’s previous efforts to emulate entertainment products have failed and this time they are obviously following the path of the Nintendo Wii which was the company that started with the motion control based technology.
DFC further adds that Microsoft would continue to be struggling with regards to the expansion of its core audience. It has also seemed that Microsoft has always failed in the entertainment industry. Microsoft may be very successful in its business software solutions but its hit entertainment products are obviously not working with that model.
DFC even brought the case of Viva Piñata to further express their opinion on the issue. The Viva Piñata was a product developed by Rare and was released around November of 2006 to compete with the Playstation 3 and the Wii. Viva Piñata was similar to Nintendo’s Pokémon franchise with a touch of Animal Crossing in it. It followed that entertainment model by having the game and a TV show.
It even had its own television series where Microsoft worked with 4Kids Entertainment to create the show and attract kids to the game. 4Kids was the company behind Pokémon and Viva Piñata became a well received show with a lot of good reviews but it still didn’t succeed in the gaming industry. It was clear that Viva Piñata was not one of the factors for establishing the Xbox 360 and the core audience of the Nintendo.
With this report, only time would really tell if the Microsoft Kinect will make it to the casual mass market scene. The Kinect actually has features that cannot be found in the other gaming consoles like full body motion detection technology and the voice recognition technology.
These features may add up to be a competitive advantage for them. However, given its hefty price of about $150 which is almost half the price of its gaming console and add to that the recessive state of the economy, the probability of success may be bleak.