If you haven’t heard of Microsoft’s Kinect yet, it will no doubt be hammered into your head over the next few weeks as the software giant is gearing up to spend over $500 million to market the Xbox 360 motion-controlling accessory, the New York Post reports.
Together with Microsoft’s reported half-billion dollar marketing budget for Windows Phone 7, the company will be spending upwards of $1 billion to outdo its competition — which includes rival mobile platforms from Apple and Google, and other motion-control offerings from Nintendo and Sony.
You can always tell how badly Microsoft wants to win given the amount of money it’s willing to spend. The company dumped $500 million in the original Xbox’s marketing campaign in 2000, and while it wasn’t a complete failure with gamers, the console still lost Microsoft over $4 billion. But that initial investment led to the more successful Xbox 360, which consistently outsold the Playstation 3 and was deemed profitable earlier this year.
Kinect is Microsoft’s biggest video game hardware announcement since the Xbox 360’s launch in 2005. It will retail for $149 (or $299 bundled with an Xbox 360 console) starting November 4. The device adds hands-free motion controlling to the Xbox 360 console, and it will compete directly with Sony’s new Move controller and Nintendo’s Wii (which sparked the motion controlling trend).
Expect to see Kinect practically everywhere — including Burger King, Pepsi products, and Kellogg’s cereal boxes. Microsoft, along with its media-buying agency Universal McCann, is targeting moms as well as the typical gamer demographic with Kinect. TV ads for the device will appear on Dancing with the Stars and Glee, while print ads will appear in People, InStyle, and other magazines. The company is also planning a major outdoor event in New York’s Times Square.