Yesterday Microsoft officially announced pricing for its Kinect controller-free gaming system for the Xbox 360. The big surprise was that there was no surprise: the widely listed tentative price of $149.99 turned out to be accurate. For that price you get the Kinect unit itself plus the game Kinect Adventures (which includes the rafting game that was being shown at this year's E3).
Additionally made official was the new "Arcade" Xbox 360 SKU, though it seems to have lost that moniker. Instead it's just being referred to as the "Xbox 360 4GB Console" and as is obvious from the name, it has 4 GB of internal flash ram rather than a hard disk. It goes on sale on August 3rd for $199.99. Visually it matches the new Xbox 360 design released last month. Microsoft will bundle this unit with Kinect for the holidays at a price of $299.99 (the bundle also includes Kinect Adventures). It sounds like Kinect-specific games will launch at $49.99, $10 less than typical Xbox 360 titles. $50 for Kinect-enabled casual games like Kinect Sports or Kinect Joy Ride sounds $10-$20 too high to me, particularly if Microsoft is hoping to lure Wii gamers over to its system. In other Xbox news, MovieTickets.com has announced that users will be able to order movie tickets through their Xbox 360...sort of. As best I can understand it, you watch some content about a movie on your Xbox 360, which then displays a Microsoft Tag that you scan with a cellphone, which then takes you to a co-branded website where you can buy the actual tickets. Sounds pretty convoluted to me, but if it sounds like a good way to buy movie tickets to you, free free to read the press release for more details.