Don Mattrick, the president of Microsoft’s Xbox business unit, warned audience members at the Web 2.0 Summit that they better get their Kinect units in the next week if they want them by Christmas. The company has sold a million units in less than two weeks, and the device is already hard to find online.He also said that he was personally optimistic about the device as soon as Microsoft started doing user testing back in 2007–as soon as he saw a mother of an 8-year-old figure out how to use Kinect in under a minute, and then go back and try and hunt down a Microsoft person to ask when she could buy one, he thought it’d be a hit.
I asked him after the speech if Microsoft was already planning a successor or update to Kinect, perhaps using technology from Canesta. He replied that it would be nice to enjoy the launch of the first device a bit before thinking about v.2, but then said that Microsoft is in the game for the “very long term.” In other words, this isn’t a one-time release.
Mattrick shared the stage with Activision’s Bobby Kotick, and the two alluded to their sometimes troubled relationship without getting too antagonistic. Console manufacturers like Microsoft and software developers like Activision constantly negotiate over revenue splits for game sales, and the discussion is particularly complicated with Microsoft because the company earns a lot of money–perhaps a billion a year–from Xbox Live subscriptions and downloads. Kotick said that the two companies have had “a lot of friction” over the revenue share from Xbox Live.