updated 09:50 am EST, Mon December 20, 2010
Microsoft says Kinect an Apple TV, Google TV rival
The launch of Kinect now means that the Xbox 360 is competing with the Apple TV and Google TV, Microsoft's senior Xbox Live marketing director Craig Davison said in an interview. Its motion control technology was designed to widen the Xbox audience beyond hardcore gamers and thus that the competition was going to go beyond just Sony's PS3 and the Nintendo Wii, he told AllThingsD. Microsoft sold 2.5 million Kinects in three weeks and is known to have spurred some to buy Xbox 360s that normally wouldn't have bought consoles.
Davison added that the makeup of the Xbox audience started changing as soon as 2008, when Netflix was built into the Dashboard. Many now use it as a media hub owed both to Netflix as well as the Zune Video Marketplace. Live ESPN3 programming came as part of the fall Dashboard update, which also let users control video services through gestures and spoken commands if a Kinect system is attached.
About 42 percent of Xbox Live Gold subscribers are known to typically watch an hour of movies or TV shows every day, and the amount of downloading and streaming has doubled since the Zune Video Marketplace launch a year ago. The span in many cases means customers are shifting away from the game-first focus. As a consequence, they are likely using it in place of a dedicated media hub.
Apple TV has been selling relatively briskly compared to most devices of its kind, but the sales will likely have trailed well behind the 1.37 million Xbox 360s sold just in November. Price has increasingly become the selling point for these more narrow-purposed devices and led Apple to drop almost all local storage to reach $99, or half the price of an Xbox 360 Arcade without a Kinect add-on.
Google TV has been the exception, and both the Logitech Revue and Sony Internet TV lines usually carry a sharp premium over alternatives.