Up until last night, Microsoft had largely considered only the casual and family-friendly crowd when announcing games for its camera-based motion-sensing Xbox 360 add-on, Kinect. As part of its 2010 Tokyo Game Show press conference, though, Microsoft offered first word on a number of core-gaming titles, including Grasshopper Manufacture's Codename D, From Software's Steel Battalion, and Sega's Rise of Nightmares, further broadening the audience of potentially interested gamers.
With Kinect set to make its North American debut on November 4, Microsoft believes that interest will result in a multimillion-unit performance by the peripheral before the year is out. Speaking to Gamasutra, Microsoft's Xbox product director, Aaron Greenberg, predicted that Kinect will sell 3 million units this holiday season alone.
"Our key indicators are feedback from retailers," he said. "I think you'd be surprised at how sophisticated they are, and they really have the pulse of the market. They're looking at preorders, they're talking to customers. We've also done our own research. We believe this will be the biggest launch in our history, for Xbox. We will sell more Kinect sensors than we did [systems] at Xbox 360 launch."
"Our estimates [indicate] that we will sell in excess of 3 million units this holiday," he continued. He also noted that Microsoft is spending "hundreds of millions" in marketing, a figure that exceeds what the publisher spent on the launch of the Xbox 360.
Despite its lofty goal, Microsoft's estimate is actually conservative compared to sales projections by Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian. Last month, the noted industry prognosticator raised his forecast for Kinect sales from 3 million to 4 million, due in part to his belief that Microsoft plans to flood retail channels with Xbox 360 bundles featuring the device.
Of those bundles, Microsoft has announced a $300 Xbox 360S-Kinect package that includes the peripheral, a new 4GB slimline console, and Kinect Adventures. A $400 variant featuring the 250GB Xbox 360S is also en route. Alternatively, gamers can pick up Kinect as a stand-alone offering for $150.