The rumors of a $149 price tag for Microsoft's Kinect accessory for the Xbox 360 were true.
Microsoft on Tuesday finally announced the pricing for both a standalone Kinect bundle, which will ship with the Kinect hardware and the Kinect Adventures game for $149, as well as a bundle of the Xbox 360 hardware, a Kinect unit, and Kinect Adventures for $299.
Rumors of the $149 price tag began circulating months ago, and were all but confirmed just a week after E3 when Microsoft's own online store listed the peripheral for that price, despite the company not yet announcing it. Earlier reports had pegged it as low as $80, and as high as $200.
Along with the pricing on the Kinect hardware, Microsoft is also releasing a replacement for its Arcade console bundle that uses the same smaller, and quieter form factor introduced at the end of Microsoft's E3 press briefing. The new unit, which can be found in the $299 Kinect console bundle, as well as on its own for $199, ships with 4GB of built-in flash memory, and features a matte paint job instead of the high-gloss finish found in the current Xbox 360 "S" units. The console will otherwise remain the same as the $299 Xbox unit, with front and back USB ports, a Kinect-specific I/O port, and built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi.
According to Microsoft director of product management Aaron Greenberg, who spoke to CNET on Monday, the new version of the Xbox 360 has been "selling quite well." The console has been on the shelves a little more than a month, but it's already jumped to first place in console sales. Greenberg pointed to data from The NPD Group for the month of June that pegged sales just north of 452,000 units, putting it on top of Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii, despite those consoles having a two-and-a-half-week lead.
As for why Microsoft didn't announce Kinect pricing at last month's E3, Greenberg said it was due to not wanting to oversaturate its press briefing with too much news. "We had a tremendous amount of news," Greenberg said. "We had to unveil the Kinect name, all the experiences, and the brand new consoles. We had more than enough to talk about there."
Kinect and the new 4GB console are shipping worldwide on November 3.