Any doubt that Microsoft was going after the mass market Nintendo so successfully exploited with the Wii was eliminated this morning. That's when the software giant confirmed rumors that it will release a 4GB flash-memory-equipped entry-level model of its newly redesigned Xbox 360 packed in with its motion-sensing, camera-based system Kinect. The bundle will also include a copy of Kinect Adventures, the minigame compilation that features the jump-based rafting game River Rush. The entire package will cost $300 and will go on sale when Kinect launches November 4.
However, as former The Price Is Right host Bob Barker might have said, that's not all. The new 4GB 360 will go on sale solo on August 3. It will have a black matte finish to distinguish itself from the glossy 250GB model, will have the same built-in N wireless connectivity, and will sport a hard drive bay. Xbox product director Aaron Greenberg told GameSpot the console has the ability to be upgraded with a hard drive, but Microsoft has not yet announced plans to sell the new, more compact hard drives separately.
Greenberg also confirmed that, by itself, Kinect will cost $150. The price had previously been published by numerous retail outlets, including Microsoft's own store, with the caveat that "official pricing had not been announced." Greenberg said Microsoft is treating the Kinect launch like that of a console, throwing the considerable weight of its marketing might behind it. The system has already been promoted via product placement in the NBC TV movie The Jensen Project, much in the same way the Guitar Hero franchise was featured in the Showtime series Californication.
With Sony touting the fact that the PlayStation Move motion-control system will support such core titles as SOCOM 4 and Killzone 3, Greenberg also addressed how Kinect will support hardcore gaming. He said that Kinect development kits "were in the hands" of many studios known for core gaming and that the system "had the potential" to be used in conjunction with a controller. He did not offer any more specific information.
Greenberg also confirmed that all Kinect games will cost $50, putting them in line with the cost of Wii games. The system's launch lineup will be targeted at the casual gamer and will feature such titles as the pet-raising simulator Kinectimals, the redesigned Kinect Joyride, and the athletic minigame compilation Kinect Sports.
[UPDATE] Kinect will cost £129.99 in the UK, Microsoft UK has confirmed. The new 4GB Xbox 360 will cost £149.99 and will hit stores on August 20, three weeks after it arrives stateside. A bundle containing them both will be released alongside Kinect's retail launch and will cost £249.99.