Microsoft's Kinect Helps Xbox 360 Surge in Sales

Dennis Faas's picture

Just when it looked as though Sony's PlayStation 3 was getting ready to eclipse sales of Microsoft's Xbox 360, it appears the latter's controller-free peripheral, Kinect, has revived the flagging MS video game console. According to a recent report, January sales of the game system climbed 15 per cent over the same period last year.

The findings come from industry analysts NPD Group, which note that about 8 million units of Kinect have now sold. In January 2011 alone Kinect helped ship 381,000 Xbox 360 units, a 15 per cent increase over January 2010. (Source:

Kinect Popularity Surprises Critics

The hike is surprising many critics, including gaming insiders at Gamasutra.

"A year ago when Microsoft's Kinect was known as Project Natal, we were dubious about the system's value to the Xbox 360 market," the gaming blog reported. At the time we wrote that we doubted that 'Microsoft's Project Natal will actually lift and sustain the platform significantly.'" (Source:

Kinect is a major score for Microsoft for several reasons. First, there's its sales -- 8 million units in just three months -- but there's also the fact that the peripheral has breathed life into a console now in its sixth year.

In the world of video games, that's an eternity (the original Xbox was released in November 2000 and was more-or-less replaced by the 360 in November 2005). The Xbox 360 continues to retail for $300, even though it lacks several of the key features of its main competitor, the PlayStation 3, including a WiFi Internet connection and Blu-ray player.

Peripheral Buoys Software Sales, Too

Kinect may also have something to do with a revival in overall video game software sales, which had started to tail off until last fall. Kinect began shipping in early November, and one of its most popular games, Dance Central, has shipped 1.2 million units. 217,000 of those copies were sold in January 2011 alone.

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