Microsoft confirmed today that 17 games will be available for the Xbox 360's Kinect body-tracking camera by the end of November, as the company aims towards a more mainstream audience already tapped by rival Nintendo.
The Kinect titles planned for a November release in the U.S. are:
(Good Science Studio/Microsoft Game Studios)
(Frontier Developments Ltd./Microsoft Game Studios)
-Game Party: In Motion
(Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 The Videogame
(EA/EA Bright Light)
-Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
-The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout
-EA Sports Active 2
(Rare/Microsoft Game Studios)
-Deca Sports Freedom
-Kinect Joy Ride
(Big Park/Microsoft Game Studios)
-Sonic Free Riders
The U.K. will receive two additional games in November: Konami's Crossboard 7
and Black Bean and Lightening Fish's workout title Get Fit With Mel B
The company said that Kinect preorders are "rapidly selling out" across the U.S. (much as they have in the U.K.
) as the device's November 4 launch approaches. Most of Kinect's games are priced at $50 each, $10 less than typical "triple-A" console games.
Microsoft plans to spend $500 million promoting the Kinect's launch, according to a report in the New York Post
"Kinect is the largest, most integrated marketing initiative in Xbox history, bigger than [the system's] launch," Robert Matthews, general manager of global marketing communications for Xbox told the New York Post. "We are going to be spending millions to launch this globally."
A representative for Microsoft's PR firm could not confirm the $500 million figure to Gamasutra, only echoing Matthews' remark that the campaign is "one of the biggest ... in Xbox history." The rep added, "I'm honestly not sure where people are getting that number, but I can say that we’re not announcing what we’re spending."
Regardless, the marketing budget includes a wide array of partnerships with major companies including Burger King, Pepsi and Kellogg's -- so expect Kinect branding on around 400 million soda cans, 60 million snack and cereal boxes and at the Home of the Whopper.
Hollywood icon Steven Spielberg also backed the Kinect at E3 in 2009, when he took the stage during Microsoft's press briefing, a moment that Microsoft said marked the beginning of the expansive campaign. Back then, the camera was still known as "Project Natal."
"The video we produced for that occasion went on to become one of the most watched viral videos of the year, according to Advertising Age," Matthews said in an email to Gamasutra.
Microsoft is targeting its marketing campaign beyond the core action game fan, with print ads to appear in magazines like InStyle and People. Kinect will also be making an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show tomorrow, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show later this month.
Mike Delman, corporate VP of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business global marketing said in a press statement, "The Xbox 360 team created a multiyear, integrated campaign showcasing real people at the heart of the experience."
The reported $500 million campaign is in addition to a marketing blitz for the game-oriented Windows Phone 7 platform, estimated to be worth $400 million.
As usual with major video game hardware and software launches, thousands of retailers will host midnight launch event for Kinect, which in the U.S. will sell for $149 in a package with Kinect Adventures
, or $299 in a package with the game and a 4GB Xbox 360 console.
Microsoft clarified New York Post's report regarding Spielberg's role in the marketing campaign; also added company comments on reported $500 million figure.]