While Microsoft may be counting on Kinect appealing to the mass market crowd with its motion controls, family games and exercise apps, analyst firm DFC Intelligence says it feels the device "is somewhat limited" and will "struggle" to broaden 360's horizons beyond its hardcore following.
"The Xbox 360 clearly needs to diversify beyond the core first-person shooter audience. At E3 it was clear that Kinect is not designed for the hard-core game consumer. Microsoft is putting almost all its eggs into the Kinect as a way to appeal to the 'casual' consumer and expand its user base," says a DFC report.
"Unfortunately, based on what we have seen, DFC continues to feel that Microsoft is going to struggle to expand beyond its core audience," it adds. "The Kinect technology is cool, but in practical terms we feel it is somewhat limited. There are questions about how the technology captures non-lateral movement, and there is the lack of complex control options."
It notes that a lack of complex controls isn't a deal breaker for the line of simple games MS has shown for it, but there are other issues. "Almost every time Microsoft has tried to emulate successful entertainment products they have failed," says the report.
"Of course, the biggest exceptions have been some of their work in PC gaming prior to the Xbox and then the Xbox platform itself. However, in both these cases the appeal was to a fairly high-end niche of dedicated gamers."
It later goes on to add: "With MSN and casual games Microsoft was able to attract a fairly large and diverse audience, but these products were free. We don't know the price of the Kinect, but it is definitely not free. An Xbox 360 with a Kinect is likely to cost as much as an annual membership at the local YMCA." Or a fair amount more, we'd say.
Widespread speculation and various retailer postings put Kinect at between £100 and £130.