Microsoft: Kinect shortages aren't intentional

The software giant is not keeping supply low to drum up demand for its motion-gaming peripheral, spokesman tells gaming site in recent interview.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
The Kinect is in short supply.
The Kinect is in short supply. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Microsoft isn't intentionally making it hard to get your hands on its Kinect motion-gaming peripheral, a company spokesman said in a recent interview.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Neil Thompson, Microsoft's Xbox manager in the U.K. and Ireland, said Microsoft is not intentionally offering a low supply of Kinect to drum up demand for its motion-gaming peripheral, which allows users to control on-screen action with only body movement. Rather, he said it's simply a matter of demand being extremely high.

"It's absolutely not a strategy," Thompson told the gaming publication. "We want to get the product into consumers hands as quickly as we can because we think its exciting, it's innovative. We wanted to do that for Christmas and that's what we've done. We've built a really strong supply and resupply chain over the coming weeks."

Thompson went on to say that "no region is being penalized" in their supply of Kinect units. "We're trying to make sure every region has a good amount of stock every week," he said.

Last month, GameStop President Tony Bartel said the possibility of the games retailer running out of Kinect stock this holiday season was quite high.

Kinect "will be a hot item through the holiday season and the key opportunity will be just to continue to keep them in stock," Bartel said during an earnings call with investors. "So, whenever consumers do see Kinect and they want Kinect for the holiday season, they should pick it up because it will be in short supply in the holiday."

He said that he wouldn't be surprised if "consumers [are] following the UPS truck to our stores to pick up that product as soon as they can find it."

However, even with those supply issues, Microsoft expects to sell 5 million Kinect units by the end of the year, easily besting the competing PlayStation Move controller, which analysts believe, will sell 3 million units this year.

But supply shortages are nothing new in the motion-gaming space. As soon as the Nintendo Wii launched, it was extremely popular, making it one of the more difficult products to find on store shelves for quite some time after its launch. In 2007, those supply issues prompted concern from critics who believed Nintendo was keeping Wii consoles in warehouses to increase demand for its product during the holiday season.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime responded swiftly to those claims, saying that "there was no ability for [Nintendo] to stockpile systems in the summer for the holiday rush."

Nowadays, the Wii is still selling exceptionally well. Nintendo announced last week that it sold 600,000 Wii units between November 21 and 27, the week that included Black Friday.