The world continues to eagerly wait for the xbox kinect to be re-released. What once filled the airwaves were commercials and celebrity reviews of this ground breaking console have now been replaced with harsh criticism towards Microsoft for running out so quickly. Some feel this is just a sleazy marketing tactic to try and boost the hype of the console. Others seem to be more understanding of the difficulty involved in releasing a brand new piece of hardware in mass quantities.
Instead of judging right away let’s take a look at both scenarios. If you have been following this shortage at all you would know that both sides have legit arguments.
To start with we will take a look at the sleazy marketing angle. In order to understand why a company would do this we need to look at the past. We won’t have to look to far though because this actually happens every Christmas. The one that stands out in my mind the most would be the tickle me elmo doll from a few years ago. This doll was just as much in your face as the xbox kinect is today. Everybody had to have this for their kids for Christmas. It was chaos at all the stores and just like the kinect the tickle me elmo doll seemed to be in short supply. Then just when most people had given up a large amount of tickle me elmos seemed to magically appear back on the stores shelves. The company that produced the toy acted like heroes. As if they had just saved America from itself. When In reality they had this supply all along.
The other side of this argument is that this takes a lot to produce this technology rapidly. We’re not talking about a few hundred thousand units. We’re talking about 5 million in projected sales by the end of the year. This is no easy mountain to have to climb. This takes very meticulous planning and execution on Microsoft’s part. You also have to be confident in your numbers and projections. What if you project for 5 million and only sell 2 million. That’s a huge oversight on someone’s part and that’s also costing the company millions to store those consoles that they cannot ship. This is where the game becomes very frustrating. Do you make all 5 million in preparation of this launch or do you make about half and see how they sell first? Then if sales are going in the right direction you order the other half be made and shipped.
It doesn’t really matter how you look at this. What it comes down to is Microsoft wasn’t prepared for this launch at all. If it’s a sleazy marketing tactic than they failed because its only making them look bad and hurting the consumers. If it’s a simple error on their part, and they didn’t produce enough to begin with, then they shouldn’t have projected to sell 5 million by the end of the year.