Microsoft's first Kinect prototype cost them $30,000

With the launch of Microsoft's Kinect motion control device only two weeks away, more details have been released showing how Microsoft went about designing the hardware and software before deciding on price points and how best to make it. One interesting piece released over the weekend has been about the news that the first ever Kinect prototype cost a whopping $30,000 to produce. Yes, that is just one Kinect prototype.

The New York Times had a chat with Tim Nichols who worked on the device at Microsoft and reveals that despite spending millions on creating the motion control device, selling it at just $150 will still turn in a profit for the company.

Other interesting points made were that Kinect can pick up when twins use the device. It will ask them if you are "A or B" if it can't tell the difference between them. It also even knows the difference between noise from the television and the user's voice input.

Kinect has already been selling very well even before hitting stores thanks to high pre-orders and some good early marketing from Microsoft. A number of websites and high street stores have already sold out of the device, while others are asking for a small deposit and for potential buyers to queue up at midnight on launch day in the hope of getting their hands on one.

Kinect launches in North America on November 4 and then in Europe on November 10.

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41 Comments

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only 30,000 ??? to the ignoramuses writing up the articles, it may sounds a lot. but for those working in product development, that is dirt cheap and a bargain.

I'm not sure what this $30,000 figure is supposed to represent, exactly. $30K won't even pay *one* of MS's engineers salary for more than a few months, and it's not like one guy could've come up with a working prototype, starting from scratch, in those few months.

So again, I don't know what this $30K figure means.

_dandy_ said,
I'm not sure what this $30,000 figure is supposed to represent, exactly. $30K won't even pay *one* of MS's engineers salary for more than a few months, and it's not like one guy could've come up with a working prototype, starting from scratch, in those few months.

So again, I don't know what this $30K figure means.

It means it is the cost of the hardware--the plastic, the camera, the electronics. Just putting it together.

How is that unclear?

ascendant123 said,

It means it is the cost of the hardware--the plastic, the camera, the electronics. Just putting it together.

How is that unclear?

The first prototype wouldn't have even had plastic - it probably would have just a bunch of boards laying in a box with a camera on it, probably about the same size or bigger than the 360 itself, connected to a computer or two for diagnostic and debugging purposes.

_dandy_ said,
I'm not sure what this $30,000 figure is supposed to represent, exactly. $30K won't even pay *one* of MS's engineers salary for more than a few months, and it's not like one guy could've come up with a working prototype, starting from scratch, in those few months.

So again, I don't know what this $30K figure means.

Actually read the article before posting please, if you cant figure this out there is no hope.

ascendant123 said,

It means it is the cost of the hardware--the plastic, the camera, the electronics. Just putting it together.

How is that unclear?

The part that's unclear to me is why anyone would care to consider this "news".

Will it recognise me as I age / change weight / lose weight / get a hair cut etc?

Does it rescan everytime I play and save my shape?

lunamonkey said,
Will it recognise me as I age / change weight / lose weight / get a hair cut etc?

Does it rescan everytime I play and save my shape?

That's up to the xbox, not the kinect. It can capture all that data, just needs a computer to process it

etempest said,
Prototypes are expensive, once they get it down, then they find a way to mass produce a version of it much cheaper.

yeah, the first wheel cost 1,000 lives, but we got it down to 100 million wheels per one life gone now... sorry bad caveman joke

Even if no good games come out for this, it's an impressive piece of technology that will make it into other consumer products.

I really want one for my kitchen. I want a display I can move without using my hands while cooking.

threetonesun said,
Even if no good games come out for this, it's an impressive piece of technology that will make it into other consumer products.

I really want one for my kitchen. I want a display I can move without using my hands while cooking.

The problm is most devices can do things with audio commands already. Google tv can be used with audio commands via the iphone or android app.

majortom1981 said,

The problm is most devices can do things with audio commands already. Google tv can be used with audio commands via the iphone or android app.

The technology behind Kinnect is far more advanced than audio commands. I think there are plenty of uses for inside/outside the home.

threetonesun said,

I really want one for my kitchen. I want a display I can move without using my hands while cooking.

More importantly... I want it to tell me when my casserole is done!

threetonesun said,
Even if no good games come out for this, it's an impressive piece of technology that will make it into other consumer products.

I really want one for my kitchen. I want a display I can move without using my hands while cooking.

Imagine having a game based around faps/minute.

Awesome. I especially like


Other interesting points made were that Kinect can pick up when twins use the device. It will ask them if you are "A or B" if it can't tell the difference between them. It also even knows the difference between noise from the television and the user's voice input.

I think the whole project would have cost more than $30,000 If thats the case I would have done it! One persons salary would have been more than that.

ChuckFinley said,
I think the whole project would have cost more than $30,000 If thats the case I would have done it! One persons salary would have been more than that.

I wonder if these people actually read the article.

ChuckFinley said,
I think the whole project would have cost more than $30,000 If thats the case I would have done it! One persons salary would have been more than that.

I wonder if these people actually read the article.

ChuckFinley said,
I think the whole project would have cost more than $30,000 If thats the case I would have done it! One persons salary would have been more than that.

I wonder if these people actually read the article.

ChuckFinley said,
I think the whole project would have cost more than $30,000 If thats the case I would have done it! One persons salary would have been more than that.

I wonder if these people actually read the article.

ChuckFinley said,
I think the whole project would have cost more than $30,000 If thats the case I would have done it! One persons salary would have been more than that.

I wonder if these people actually read the article.

ChuckFinley said,
I think the whole project would have cost more than $30,000 If thats the case I would have done it! One persons salary would have been more than that.

I wonder if these people actually read the article.

ChuckFinley said,
I think the whole project would have cost more than $30,000 If thats the case I would have done it! One persons salary would have been more than that.

I wonder if these people actually read the article.

You seriously think that the whole project cost $30000? Without even looking at Kinects internals I could hazard a guess that some parts were bespoke. That ain't a cheap process.

Caleo said,
Sensational crap. The project may have cost $30,000 but that doesn't mean one prototype cost that much.

You're very far from correct, Caleo. Project costs would have been in the millions, if not tens of millions of dollars (even if you write off the prior MSR research into NUIs). For something like this, having a single production prototype can easily hit thousands of dollars due to zero economies of scale.

Caleo said,
Sensational crap. The project may have cost $30,000 but that doesn't mean one prototype cost that much.

Yea um, $30K is a drop in the bucket for a project of that size. When I saw "$30,000" I was like.. "That's all?"

Caleo said,
Sensational crap. The project may have cost $30,000 but that doesn't mean one prototype cost that much.

A single injection mold for the plastic shell starts at $60k so clearly you have no clue what you are talking about.

ahhell said,

A single injection mold for the plastic shell starts at $60k so clearly you have no clue what you are talking about.

They should have milled the prototype out of aluminum. It would have been far, far cheaper.

bj55555 said,

They should have milled the prototype out of aluminum. It would have been far, far cheaper.


Wouldn't worry about the case, that was probably cheap by comparison, using a RPM. Most of the cost would have been the purpose built electronics, and no economy of scale for those parts

Caleo said,
Sensational crap. The project may have cost $30,000 but that doesn't mean one prototype cost that much.
You are standing in front of a door. What lies beyond it is a strange and unusual place. You open it. Prepare to enter, the real world.

Caleo said,
Sensational crap. The project may have cost $30,000 but that doesn't mean one prototype cost that much.

Seriously, the cost of the project for $30,000. lol. That wouldn't even cover the salary of one employee.

Caleo said,
Sensational crap. The project may have cost $30,000 but that doesn't mean one prototype cost that much.

Seriously? The project itself cost millions, oen person's salary working on this for a year in Redmond, WA would be at LEAST $80k a year.... you have to think the team had at least 10 people on it alone.....

Caleo said,
Sensational crap. The project may have cost $30,000 but that doesn't mean one prototype cost that much.

facepalm

Caleo said,
Sensational crap. The project may have cost $30,000 but that doesn't mean one prototype cost that much.

LOL
Entire project consist of acquiring company, employee salary, marketing, manufacturing, testing, etc..

ChuckFinley said,
Glad they have money to burn! Lets hope their stock rockets because of this!

I wouldn't mind that. Their stock has kind of been under-performing since some poor economic choices earlier in the year...