Sold out products make a company look good, so it’s no surprise that Microsoft is boasting about Kinect for Xbox 360′s supposedly limited availability.
In a press release announcing Kinect’s launch titles, Microsoft says pre-orders for the motion-sensing camera are “rapidly selling out.” Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live, wrote on his blog that “if you have not placed your order yet you may want to take care of that.”
I wouldn’t bother heeding his advice, at least if you live in the United States. Come November 4, I have a feeling you’ll be able to walk into a games retailer, see Kinect for yourself and make an informed decision on whether to buy. No need to rush.
Reports of Kinect pre-orders selling out have surfaced several times this month. For the most part, these stories have come from the United Kingdom, where retailers GAME, Amazon UK and Play.com said they were all out of supply. Microsoft told gaming trade publication MCV that it’s working hard to meet holiday demand. Does this mean Kinect won’t be in steady supply at U.K. retailers? Maybe.
In the United States, the sell-out story seems to be overblown. An Xbox enthusiast site reported two weeks ago that Gamestop was no longer taking pre-orders, and that Newegg was sold out of Kinect as well, but this is not the case anymore. Gamestop still lists a November 4 ship date for Kinect pre-orders, and I don’t see any mention of delays at Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon or Newegg.
What’s going on? I think legitimate sell-out concerns in the United Kingdom are being conflated with minor issues in the United States. In any case, Microsoft is now preparing a massive marketing campaign for Kinect, starting with today’s launch title announcement. Failure to meet demand would be a blunder on Microsoft’s part.