Do 2.5 million Kinect units sold equal a Microsoft Hit?

Are Sony's Move and Microsoft's Kinect really neck-and-neck?

Kinect seems to be off to a rousing start, more than doubling first month sales of Apple's iPad, though on par with Sony's initial 30 day estimates of PlayStation Move units moved.

The Xbox 360 motion-sensing camera that can recognize voice commands and lets you shuffle through virtual windows with quick snaps of a hand enjoyed a Black Friday sales boost, according to Microsoft, bringing unit sales to over 2.5 million units. The company previously claimed it sold 1 million units during Kinect's initial 10-day launch window.

Apple's iPad, by contrast, sold 2 million units worldwide during its first two months of availability. The iPad launched in the U.S. April 3.

Comparing figures with Sony's Move is trickier. It's not clear whether Microsoft's Kinect numbers represent sell-to or sell-through, a critical distinction often blurred by companies eager to spin numbers and take advantage of those unwitting in the press. Sony's 2.5 million worldwide claim was initially reported as units sold but later redacted to units shipped. Units shipped to stores don't count as legitimate sales until they've been plucked off shelves and sold-through to customers.

Whatever the case, Microsoft's certainly crowing.

"We are thrilled about the consumer response to Kinect, and are working hard with our retail and manufacturing partners to expedite production and shipments of Kinect to restock shelves as fast as possible to keep up with demand," said Microsoft's Don Mattrick, president of the company's Interactive Entertainment Business. "With sales already exceeding two and a half million units in just 25 days, we are on pace to reach our forecast of 5 million units sold to consumers this holiday."

Microsoft originally predicted sales of 3 million Kinect units by year's end, but revised that figure upward to 5 million, based, it says, on the strength of pre-orders. Of course even that might have been a stunt to drive public perception that Kinect is this season's "must-have" peripheral. Note the intimation in Mattrick's press blurb that the company's having difficulty keeping Kinect in stock.

Hold on, says Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter, who thinks "official" claims that Microsoft's Kinect or Sony's Move are constrained are the usual marketing hocus-pocus.

"Yes, I think both companies would very much like for consumers to believe that their devices are highly sought after and difficult to obtain," Pachter told IncGamers. "That usually works to spur demand."

Demand Microsoft could certainly use overseas. Kinect's not doing terribly well in Japan, selling just 26,000 units during its November 20 launch weekend. To be fair, the Xbox 360's never sold well in Japan, with a roughly 1.5 million unit install base, compared with the PlayStation 3's nearly 6 million and the Nintendo Wii's nearly 11 million.

Will Microsoft hit 5 million Kinect units sold by end of year? Perhaps. They're "on track to" only if December's as good to them as November was. Whether Kinect can outpace Sony's Move by significant margins next month is less assured. While the Xbox 360 leads the PlayStation 3 in the U.S., the reverse holds true in Europe and Japan, and Microsoft's only ahead of Sony in worldwide console sales by a few million units.

Follow us on Twitter (@game_on)

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleGame platformsMicrosoftgaminggamesXboxsonygame consoles

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Peckham

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?