First Kinect cost $30,000

Prototype for Microsoft's shortly shipping, motion-sensing system did not come cheap; hardware now profitable at $150 each.


Kinect Joy Ride
Kinect Sports

The Kinect goes on sale next Thursday, and the hype machine backing its launch is firing on all cylinders. Following last week's appearance on Oprah, the Xbox 360's motion-sensing system is now the subject of an in-depth article in the New York Times.

The first Kinect unit reportedly cost a whopping $30,000.
The first Kinect unit reportedly cost a whopping $30,000.

Besides lauding the device's ability to allow players to control games without controllers, the piece also reveals some startling facts about Kinect. The camera-based system's first prototype cost some $30,000 to build--200 times the retail price of the unit sold on its own. However, Microsoft claims that unlike the Xbox 360, the Kinect hardware will be profitable from day one at a retail price of $150 each.

The Times also reported that at its zenith, the Kinect program--then called Project Natal--had nearly 1,000 workers toiling away on it. Though officially unconfirmed, it is suspected that the device employs motion-sensing technology from 3DV systems, an Israeli startup Microsoft bought outright last year.

The Kinect debuts in stores on November 4. It can be bought solo or as part of a $300 bundle with the 4GB Xbox 360 or part of a $400 bundle with the 250GB model of the console, both of which also contain the game Kinect Adventures. It will have 12 games available at launch, including Kinect Sports, Kinectimals, Fighters Uncaged, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, and Sonic Free Riders. Five more games will be available by the end of November, with titles across numerous genres planned in the coming months.

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