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  Kinect
Kinect for Xbox 360
Social Kinect-ions
by Mark J. Miller
November 19, 2010

As of March 2009, most Americans were watch 8.5 hours a day watching TV, according to the Council for Research Excellence. When researchers look back at the fourth quarter of 2010, another jump in the numbers may be seen in that time thanks to recent release of Microsoft’s answer to Wii: its new Kinect brand.
 
The system, which hit store shelves in North America on November 4, can be connected to existing Xbox units and allows users to compete in games without using any type of hand controller. Who knew motion sensor would get to be this accurate?

One of the key ways Microsoft is using to sell the innovative product is by using social media in order to, well, foster meaningful Kinections with consumers.

Rob Matthews, in charge of marketing Kinect for Microsoft (who just happens to also be the man who rolled out the Wii game console as well), recently commented that there are three general ways the company has been marketing Kinect: in free first-hand experiences of the product at fairs, events, festivals, and malls since July; partnerships with other entities such as Real Simple magazine, Macy’s stores, Burger King, and Nickelodeon; and providing ways for passionate consumers to share their love of Kinect with others. The latter of these three is where Microsoft is finding social media to be quite helpful.

WEB STRATEGY

The first of these ways to share is Kinect.me, a website that collects commentary, photographs, and videos from users testing the product at malls in America and beyond.

Each of these little videos watches users as they jump, lean, wave hands, and always, always smile and laugh their way through a small segment of one of Kinect’s new games. At the top of the page, there are links to “Learn More” and “Follow the Tour,” which connects visitors to a interactive map so they can find when the tour is reaching any area. If it hasn’t come to you part of the country yet, the site provides a way to RSVP if you’d like to be part of the group trying it out on that date.

Another site that should be come a favorite for many Kinect users is KinectShare.com, which allows the uploading of photos and videos that people take of themselves playing Kinect games so all the world can see every last one of us in our most ridiculous poses.

Kinect doesn’t have a dedicated site (kinect.com, for instance), but it does dominate the Xbox site, again featuring sun-drenched videos of people who could not be happier with the product. (Doesn’t all that sunlight make a glare on their TV sets?)

 
 
Kinect SOCIAL MEDIA

Microsoft also allows XBox to take the reins on Twitter with Kinect. There is a Kinect Twitter page at @Kinect, with a bio that reads, “With Kinect for Xbox 360, you are the controller!” But there is only one tweet on the page that was posted on June 14 at 3:55 p.m.: “Please follow @xbox for all official Kinect for Xbox 360 news and information!” (The company apparently got an extra shipment of exclamation points that morning.)

Even with the directions to go elsewhere for info and the fact that the page is following O other folks on Twitter, there are still 883 people who are following Kinect and waiting to see if a second Tweet will ever come.

Meanwhile, @xbox has more than 77,900 followers and follows more than 2,500 fellow Tweeters so it’s a total grab bag of information: links to a New York launch of Kinect or open calls for questions about Kinect to be answered by a company expert on the XBox Facebook page.

One thing Kinect has built right into the game will help its cause online: a camera. When playing any game on Kinect, the unit will take three pictures of you that can be uploaded from the XBox to KinectShare.com. The images are made to look a little like Polaroids. If you move them to your Facebook page, it will automatically create a KinectShare.com folder in your Facebook page in order to keep the millions more that you’ll be uploading in order.

There is also a Kinect Sports Facebook app, which allows users to continually compare scores with other thoroughly competitive users across the globe in any of Kinect’s sports offerings. Users can set up international leagues or ones simply with Facebook friends and continually track the action.

XBox also has more than 4 million Facebook “likes” while its UK Facebook counterpart only has a little more than 26,000 fans. Still, it has all the updates you need about how to track your calorie-dumping progress on a separate site for the Your Shape: Fitness Evolved website or links you to the Kinect Sports Facebook app.

And, of course, all those videos of smiling, happy people can also be found on the Xbox brand’s YouTube and Hulu channels.

Matthews seems to figure that once someone has waved his or her arms around and found that he or she can virtually tell someone else what to do (no matter that it’s his or her own avatar), people will be hooked. Or folks will simply see how happy Kinect is making everybody else and have to be part of it and proselytize about it. If they don’t proselytize, no worries — but with the mammoth digital and social push behind making the Kinect top of mind globally this holiday shopping season, that’s not likely.

 

Mark J. Miller writes a daily sports column for Yahoo! Sports and is a contributing writer to Crain's BtoB's Media Business magazine. His work has appeared in National Geographic Adventure, ESPN, The Washington Post, Salon.com, I.D., and Glamour, among others.

*Due to the constantly changing environment of websites, some reviews may no longer reflect the current website for this brand.
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