When Oprah speaks, America listens! At least the roughly one bazillion viewers (give or take a few) she commands each show hang on the media queen’s every word. So when the big O decided to give away the Xbox 360 and Kinect to every member of her audience, those items shot up the must-have list pretty quickly.
In fact, the Kinect Sensor with Kinect Adventures! is now officially back-ordered on Amazon. For those playing at home, this was the $150 bundle that would likely be the most obvious purchase for those interested in the device.
While Oprah’s audience probably falls into the most casual gaming segment imaginable, her viewers no doubt have kids and will want to get them the hottest gift possible for the upcoming holiday. If Oprah says that item is Kinect, then by gosh that’s what those kids are getting!
Even though Oprah herself probably has little interest in or knowledge about the device, going so far as to mispronounce the name ("Who wants a Kee-nect?"), the on-air giveaway increased sales of Microsoft’s motion sensor by 42% on Amazon. Sales for the 250GB console Kinect bundle also saw a 43% increase, while the 4GB bundle took a 67% leap. This extra boost has moved the Kinect standalone bundle to #7 on Amazon’s video game sales chart.
We are quickly approaching Kinect’s November launch day, and feelings towards the controller-less tech are still fairly mixed. Microsoft is doing what they can to get gamers excited and is touting a 17 game line-up for launch-month. The Oprah plug could be exactly what they needed to build even more awareness for the motion machine.
To skeptical “hardcore” gamers, this sort of hype means very little. Gamers want great games to accompany the hardware. However, it should be noted that this could be a good thing for core gamers as well. Developers will jump on the Kinect bandwagon so long as the device sells well enough. If Microsoft manages to move enough units, then creators won’t be so apprehensive about throwing money behind bigger, Kinect-specific game development. Having Oprah wave her magic wand has certainly seemed to boost interest and sales and, therefore, could lead to some less casual game experiences being put in the works down the road.
Does Oprah’s divine word raise the chances that mom will buy you a Kinect for the holiday? Could this be a vital shot in the arm for Kinect’s potential? Could Oprah be helping us to get some games that don’t include dancing or exercise?
Oprah decrees that you must buy Kinect when it hits store shelves November 4, 2010, exclusively for the Xbox 360. Seriously, you don’t want to make Oprah angry.
Source: Joystick Division