Microsoft Store Prices Kinect at $149.99

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Microsoft Kinect

The rumors of Kinect's $150 price tag weren't exaggerated--if you buy the unofficially "official" price line from Microsoft's own web store, that is. Microsoft's software store now lists Kinect for $149.99, available for pre-order only.

The disclaimer tells a slightly different story, cautioning that "official pricing has not been announced," and that "$149.99 is an estimate only and subject to change."

Other sites have listed Kinect for the same amount in recent days, including GameStop (first), followed by Walmart and Best Buy.

Microsoft hasn't formally announced a price for Kinect yet, though my contacts tell me something formal's in the offing, near term.

Why slap an "unofficial" price on the website? Good question. Maybe Microsoft's testing the waters, gauging consumer reaction (most in the media seem to think $150 is too much, but then we've long decried Microsoft's $100 WiFi adapter, and consumers snapped that up anyway).

Probably Microsoft just wants to get direct sale pre-orders churning. Their margins are presumably higher on direct sales, and with other sites already taking orders, it's in Microsoft's interest to move now, not later.

What if the price drops between now and Kinect's November 4, 2010 release date? The site's "pre-order price guarantee" stipulates that "the advertised price for pre-order items may increase or decrease prior to the date the product is released to the public," and that "you'll only be charged the lowest price offered between the time you place your pre-order and the date the product is released to the public." So if you want to order Kinect now, direct from Microsoft, you can, $149.99 or no.

And if the price goes up? Don't worry, it won't. Microsoft's worst-casing things at $149.99. With its first batch of arguably overpriced $60 "casual" games, e.g. stuff like Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, and Kinect Joy Ride, making Kinect any more expensive would probably kill sales in the cradle.

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