First-Person Marketer

First-Person Marketer
Kinect Is Not For You

J.P. Sherman | 23 Aug 2010 21:00
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Microsoft put on its event and it wasn't geared to us. The real information about Kinect would be revealed during its actual E3 press event. While it gave us good information on Halo Reach and Gears of War 3, Microsoft wanted to make Kinect the star of the show. Again, Microsoft was gearing this thing to "people who play games", not "gamers." We, the people who identify themselves as "gamers", were effectively ignored when it came to the technology that we were so interested in. It became apparent that Microsoft is not marketing the Kinect to core gamers. There's a very good reason for this, although we may not like it one bit.

Microsoft is in the middle of re-inventing itself. It's seen the domination of the desktop and laptop OS mind-share slip due to Apple's slow, but steady growth. Their past efforts in mobile technology have been dashed by Apple, Blackberry and the Android. Google owns searches online, as well as search-based advertising. Nintendo has had tremendous success with the Wii and DS platforms and Sony's selling more PS3s than ever before. Microsoft sees these threats, as do its investors. It's been a long time since Microsoft has really led the charge in technological and consumer innovation, and now it's giving each of these companies a run for their money, by taking what they've done and trying to do it better.

Microsoft's new philosophy can be summed up as wanting to be the destination for entertainment and information wherever people look for entertainment and information. Microsoft has found success on the PC with Windows 7, its search engine Bing is growing and the company is poised to make a huge statement with the launch of its new Windows 7 Phone that integrates MS Office, Xbox Live and the Zune in an attractive mobile OS. With the Xbox 360 in over 41 million homes worldwide, and in over 10 million homes in the US, Microsoft needs a way to boost sales. It is critical to put more boxes in more homes.

With a large portion of core gamers already owning an Xbox 360, targeting core gamers to purchase a new Xbox 360 would provide slow growth as units age and need replacing. However, if Microsoft releases a newly-designed Xbox 360 and the Kinect in a bundle, marketed with the right message to people who don't already have an Xbox 360 in their homes, the Xbox 360's reach into new homes and markets could significantly increase. This audience has already accepted the Wii, iPhone and casual games. They remain a ripe target for growth. These are not necessarily gamers, but people who have played games. The demographics for this new audience are different. It has more female than male players. These women make over 80% of the household purchases and have a significant influence over what items are purchased overall, particularly for their children.

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