The announcement that it’s not mandatory to purchase the Xbox One with the Kinect sensor is probably yet another blow to Microsoft’s aspirations but it’s also a sad end to a device which could have brought about a change not just in gaming but many other applications. Much before Google Glass became popular, Kinect was trying to follow people around their living rooms. Kinect is yet another of the Microsoft ideas which seems to have died a natural death after much effort(anyone remember Zune, Tablet PC and MSN Sportswatch ?)
It’s a pity because Kinect hacks seem to have brought about some very interesting applications. People have come up with ways for them to use finger movements as instructions, to develop robots which can do advanced tasks, and even monitor a person’s pulse. The key is to see if Microsoft decides to use the learnings from the Kinect project in other fields, be it bringing additional features to their Phone operating systems or enabling more features in next editions of Windows which may move from a touch based operation system to a gesture based operating system, like those shown in Minority report
In the meantime, it might also make sense for other companies to learn from the Kinect debacle. The Kinect was a product which served as an accessory but never grew a loyal enough following to make it worthy of being an individual product by itself. Forcing customers to purchase it just pushed away many customers. But if it had been priced in a better fashion(as Dan Ariely has explained) , it might have been sold as a value for money combination. So the key for Microsoft was not just providing a better customer experience but also making them feel there was value in it. The pricing was initially much higher and was brought down only after they lost many customers to Sony. As my old marketing professor would say, You mess up even one of the four P’s and you will piss it all away.