Fact: Kinect is fastest-selling consumer gadget EVER. Question: Is anyone actually playing it? Really?

At GamesRadar, we get sent a lot of dull press releases about sales figures. "Game X sells 498 copies in western Finland! Becomes fastest-selling marmoset husbandry simulator ever!" We're told things like that a lot, and we never care. But today one such e-mail made us all sit up and take notice. Or rather, sit up, take notice, yell a collective "What the f*ck!?" and question the very nature of reality.

For today we learned that Kinect is the fastest-selling piece of consumer electronics in history, and has already surpassed 10 million sales. Yeah, since November. Since November Kinect has sold as many units as the Dreamcast did in its entire lifespan. And while we don't doubt that these figures are accurate, we just can't bring ourselves to believe them. 

These Kinect units aren't being bought by hardcore gamers. We get that. It wasn't designed for us. But neither was the Wii, really. And while Nintendo's little white waggle box was created with the purpose of capturing the casual market - and was insanely successful in that respect - as an example of cultural saturation, it hit everyone equally. Kinect, we feel, has not done this in the slightest.

We men of Radar are a socially eclectic bunch. We hang out with folk of every level of gaming awareness, from ultra-granite-hardcore-bastards to people who still think there are ghosts in the TV whenever they see a video game running. And believe us, the Wii is a cultural touchstone for everyone we know. It gets mentioned at parties. It gets mentioned in the pub. It gets mentioned on trains. We've had discussions about it with strangers while hurtling around on rollercoasters, and we once got into an impromptu chat about Wii Bowling tactics while rescuing an old lady from a mugger. And we were talking to the mugger.

Everyone has a Wii. Everyone talks about the Wii. It's a universally embraced thing. So if Kinect has sold faster than the Wii, why the hell have we never heard anyone talk about it outside the office? Why do we still find people looking at us with confused expressions when we mention it? Why do they get even more confused when try to explain it? Why have we never seen someone fire it up at a party? Why have we never even seen one in someone's house?

Above: Justin spotted this three days after Kinect's launch. But how common an occurence is it?

It's weird. It's very weird. The elitist cynic in us theorises that Kinect units are being bought in faddish excitement, used briefly, and then consigned to a dusty cupboard. But is that likely? Today's figures also state that Kinect game sales are similarly around 10 million, and while it sounds impressive, that's actually a 1:1 hardware/software ratio, which certainly implies that people aren't enthusiastically lapping up the games after their initial tech purchase. It would be interesting to get hold of Microsoft's play-time statistics to see just how much people are actually using this thing, but those numbers weren't part of today's statements. That may be telling, or it may not be.

But what's your experience? Have you found Kinect to have made any kind of cultural impact amongst people you know? Has it become a big deal in any regular practical sense? We're beginning to feel like we're trapped in a crazy anthropological bubble here, so any information you could give us would be seriously appreciated. This mystery needs solving.


Microsoft WTF


  • KippDynamite - June 7, 2011 11:25 p.m.

    It's partly (mostly?) because of the $500,000,000 marketing budget. You could sell fingernail clippings with that marketing might.
  • Spybreak8 - March 12, 2011 6:13 a.m.

    I wasn't planning on getting the thing mainly because of the price and low and behold I got one for Christmas out of the blue. The thing is perfect for getting a bunch of people together and socializing. We saw this with the Wii and I think the biggest thing is that the Kinect is a party game peripheral really, good in small doses. Really hoping Children of Eden is great.
  • FreekinIdiot - March 11, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    I guess Microsoft aren't so crazy after all...
  • jmcgrotty - March 11, 2011 8:50 a.m.

    And the streak continues. 648 days since Natal/Kinect was announced and no one has found a single use for it. Either legitimate or not.
  • CombatJack0331 - March 11, 2011 4:33 a.m.

    Bought one on launch, I've personally played it for a few days but now it's mostly for my daughter to play dance central. But that is only once or twice a month.
  • theundead - March 11, 2011 4:04 a.m.

    I don't think so, I work at an electronic stores. I am a minority in the game market i have understood that by working selling video games, for every dragon age or okami i buy, there are hundreds of people who buy just dance or a "casual game". I am not the targeting demography for the kinect so if i don't play it and the majority of people that i know don't play it (same demography), it doesn't matter because we are not the ones who the product is marketed at, the people who this is marketed at however play it and is annoying (they do exist and unfortunately are the 70% of my costumers).
  • ricochetguro - March 11, 2011 1:56 a.m.

    I'm very confused because I'm the only person I know that has one. No one else I know has bought one yet I hear these statistics and I see them piled up in every store. Weird. I like it, I just want some new games to come out as I haven't used mine in months(my little sister plays Kinectanimals though)
  • deathcab4booty - March 11, 2011 12:29 a.m.

    I bought Kinect as a christmas present to myself. I haven't touched it since New Years.
  • Pruman - March 10, 2011 11:11 p.m.

    I split a Kinect with my brother to get a new 360 for my other brother (the one he got for Xmas broke, and they were out of the 250 GB models). I played Kinect Adventures for about an hour, and then got bored when I realized they tried to build a full experience around 5 silly minigames. I've fired it up maybe once since. It's fun, but gets old fast. I could see how casuals would lap it up though. I've had opportunities to get Dance Central, but passed because jumping around your living room like a moron is so 2006. I admit the tech inside Kinect is awesome, but they have yet to build any equally awesome games.
  • majrf22 - March 10, 2011 9:50 p.m.

    I hang out with a bunch of gamers at school and the only time we mention kinect is when we make fun of it. It came up today as we were talking about terrible E3 presentations. Milo, Ridge racer for psp and the giant enemy crab meme all came up among others.
  • Garenm - March 10, 2011 9:26 p.m.

    I'm guessing from the comments that most of you are not 8-12 year old girls. I'm the father of two such girls and picked-up the Kinect on launch, along with Dance Central, Kinectimals, and Kinect Sports. My 8 year-old played and finished Kinectimals, and considers it her second favorite game behind Viva Pinata. We all played and enjoyed Dance Central, no one more than the aforementioned 8 year-old, who shocked and stunned her friends at the next school dance function by actually looking like she took dance lessons. (The most significant flaw in the game is lack of local co-op or competitive play which caused some serious conflicts.) We also all played and enjoyed Kinect Sports - but admittedly not as much as Dance Central. I have no use for the controller-free features of Kinect and find even the straightforward voice commands annoying. I do like how the Kinect recognizes me and logs me into Live, but not enough to justify the purchase of the unit. If I was only taking myself into consideration, I would not have made the purchase. The bottom line is that the "family" gamers in my household love Kinect and definitely look forward to other quality titles similar to Dance Central, Kinectimals, etc. I'm fairly certain that there are others out there in my situation, I'm just not sure what percentage of the 10 Million in sales are attributable to people like me. Hope this helps.
  • joemama - March 10, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    All I use mine for is a mic. played it once and never played it again. If there was an fps where I could us my Guns as a controler I would be all over that. Im afraid most of the games are going to be an on rails.
  • ichigoame - March 10, 2011 8:19 p.m.

    bill gates bought about 9 million of them I guess XD
  • FlyinHawaiian13 - March 10, 2011 8 p.m.

    My sister and all her friends are all over the kinect. Dance Central. Also I don't think you guys are giving it time to get any good games. Like you said it just came out in November, and it's not like developers are used to designing games with no controller input whatsoever.
  • InFeRnOg - March 10, 2011 7:59 p.m.

    In all seriousness, the staggering sales of Kinect is a testament to the MASSIVE marketing job Microsoft did (I believe it was their largest promotion of anything to do with Xbox ever - maybe even more than that if someone corrects me). Oprah said "Buy this" and the masses did. Ellen said "Buy this" and the masses did. Mainstream media talked about the "revolutionary" controls and possibilities while GamesRadar, for one, spoke the truth that it looks like 99% of the comments here affirm: Kinect is just gathering dust. While some of you think Kinect has potential, I am going to go out on the limb and say that Kinect will never be essential for gaming (or navigation) in the sense that it actually improves the experience substantially. Controllers are more efficient than the "Tony Stark" waving mentioned earlier. Games are too complex to be controlled without one. Will Kinect be used in innovative ways? Sure. But I doubt those will ever make anyone say "Wow, you need to get this immediately. I don't know how I ever lived without Kinect." Can you imagine someone saying "I don't know how I ever lived with using a controller"? I certainly can't.
  • beema - March 10, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    Ok, so after a Facebook poll of my 550 someodd friends, I have learned that two people I know actually own a Kinect. They have described it as "badass," possibly the last word I would ever associate with such a device. I'm seriously considering not being friends with these people anymore. LOL One of them I have known since 5th grade. He conceded that "it has no games" but "the future possibilities are amazing." Yeah... I don't buy devices based on potential future possibilities... I have no idea where this guy gets all this money to toss out. It actually didn't surprise me that he, of everyone I knew had it, since this was the same guy that bought an Xbox 360, PS3, and Plasma TV all at around the same time when he didn't have a job. I don't care what people do with their own money, but it just blows my mind that so many people will run out and buy an expensive device based solely on marketing and the fact that it "looks cool," even though it can't do much yet and they barely use it.
  • RavielDeSilverlake - March 10, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    Enter a room, sit down, and shout Xbox start. After that, hold your hand out, wave wave, wave wave, and it's begin something. Hey, it's just like Tony Stark. That's the main reason, lol.
  • InFeRnOg - March 10, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    Holding your hand out is not nearly as efficient as using a controller. Why anyone would buy Kinect for this reason is beyond me.
  • RavielDeSilverlake - March 10, 2011 7:34 p.m.

    Course, really, most of people buying Kinect not for game. We can google it and there's a lot of result about Kinect hack do stuff here, do stuff there. From control a robot, control lighthouse, capture movement or just like my friends. A lot of my friends buying Kinect just for 1 or 2 reasons: Xbox Start, point the finger and choose thing, cancel thing. That's all there's to it.
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - March 10, 2011 7:26 p.m.

    I believe the Kinect navigates movies when you say "Xbox, blah" as in "Xbox, stop." So it's like Picard talking to the Enterprise.

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