Players who want the fancy features of Kinect -- voice and face recognition, the chance to drive an RC car into a cute tiger, a controller-free way to play soccer -- know that they have to shell out $149 for it. Given how much entirely new consoles usually cost, the price is actually pretty good for the technology in the system.
Microsoft had previously stated that they sell each Kinect at a profit, and tech group UBM Tech Insights decided to take apart the Kinect and track down how much each piece actually costs. As it turns out, Microsoft only ends up paying $56 to produce each Kinect sensor - so they're selling it at nearly 275% profit. Even after shipping and labor costs, one has to imagine that Microsoft is going to be pretty happy with those kinds of numbers.
The most expensive piece of the puzzle is from a reference system produced by PrimeSense, which provides both camera and audio reception in relation to the processor. The teardown indicated that the Kinect uses 4 separate audio sensors to pinpoint where the user is through auditory projection, and uses a combination of the main infrared camera and two image sensors to track movement. It's amazing to think that this bundle of technology could be produced for less than the retail price of a single video game.
At the end of the day, this is what's really staring at you.
Microsoft recently raised their sales expectations for Kinect. With projected sales of 5 million units, Microsoft can claim that this is a product that they were likely right to invest in. It certainly appears that it will be profitable for them. Hopefully, that kind of success will mean that we'll see more games come to Kinect, which so far has a very limited selection (you can check out our Kinect guide here).
Allan Yogasingham, a technical marketing manager at UBM, thought the technology could be ported into other means as well:
"The future applications of this technology could be fascinating, I can see this being incorporated into televisions–allowing users to change the channel by waving their hand, essentially replacing the remote control."
It's an interesting thought, especially if the production cost is only $56 - I think we could definitely see this kind of technology built into televisions in the near future. That said, maybe most people just aren't ready to embrace a Minority Report kind of future just yet.
What do you think of the $56 production price of Kinect? Are you surprised? Could you see other companies incorporating that technology into different fields? Tell us your thoughts!
Source: EE Times