Rumor Killers: Kinect Costs $150, 3DS 3D Video Chat, and FF Versus XIII on 360?

Will the Kinect ACTUALLY cost $150? Did Satoru Iwata reveal 3DS video chat plans? Will Final Fantasy Versus XIII grace the Xbox 360?

Rumor Killers

Just How Much Is Kinect Going to Kost? $150?

This is really the multi-million dollar question for the future of Microsoft’s venture into motion controls, the high-tech motion camera we’ve all had to begrudgingly accept as the Kinect. Ok, so maybe the name isn’t that bad, but depending on the price come this November, the name may have little to do with sales numbers.

The whole thing started when Microsoft posted an actual price on the Microsoft Store, quoting the Kinect at $149.99 USD. Whatever your stance on this particular number, it’s hard to argue a price point that’s given by the company actually selling the product. But wait, that’s not all! Below the picture of the product is this blurb: “Official pricing has not been announced. $149.99 is an estimate only and subject to change.”

So one can imagine that Microsoft posted the price as a kind of place holder, possibly so retailers could start taking pre-orders for the peripheral. Well, according to a tweet by Steve Toulouse, Microsoft’s Director of Policy and Enforcement for XBL, “All prices now *no matter what the retail source* are placeholders. We’ve not announced.” Oh, so there it is.

NO! That’s not enough. Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg also tweeted, touting the price as purely speculative… though on the part of Microsoft. Nothing is official. Alright, we understand. Maybe, though, you are thinking (as I did) that it seems a bit arbitrary for Microsoft to throw out a “speculative placeholder” of $150 as the price of such a huge piece of their business plan going forward.

Again, we the consuming public are mistaken. Develop recently reported that the $150 price point is in no way speculative or arbitrary, but in fact the “total manufacturing cost for each Kinect unit.”

So let’s review. The Kinect is being tentatively priced at $150 by Microsoft, who says this isn’t necessarily the final price for the unit but put it up anyway, and apparently it costs just as much to make one Kinect. Assuming the “trusted source” that leaked the manufacturing info to Develop is right, there’s no way that the Kinect will cost $150, because Microsoft would make absolutely no money on it. And if Develop is wrong, and the units cost drastically less to manufacture, then Microsoft will likely go for any price under $100 simply for the marketing and increased likelihood of widespread initial product adoption. Legally, Microsoft hasn’t bound itself to the $150 figure, so I would tend to believe that the current listed price is just what it’s being called – temporary. Oh, and let’s not forget that they need to stay competitive with Sony’s Move. So for better or for worse, I’m calling $150 a fabrication.

Crabtree’s Call: Don’t think so

Is the 3DS Hardware Capable and Is Software Ready to Offer 3D Video Chat?

The possibilities here come straight from the horse’s mouth, which is the mouth of video gaming giant, Satoru Iwata. The president of Nintendo, in speaking to Forbes at E3, proudly discussed the myriad of possibilities with the upcoming handheld console, chief of which obviously being 3D gaming and movies on the console.

The conversation then turned to the technical possibilities and the future of the system. In what seems to be a sort of off-handed comment, Iwata said, “Technologically speaking, a variety of different things are possible with the 3DS, for example, 3D video chat.”

The question is essentially this: How premeditated, or perhaps previously researched, was this remark? Did Iwata mention video chat like he could have mentioned the camera on the DSi years ago? Obviously if he’s saying it, he knows it is a physical hardware capability of the system, and the software can clearly be produced. With the dual camera demoed at E3, it seems 3D pictures are the only option available on the current build, as noted by GamesRadar. But like most consoles in the middle of evolving, and those shown for the first time at E3, it’s likely that changes could be implemented prior to retail.

I have to wonder whether or not 3D video chat is even a good idea for Nintendo. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should, right? Video chat very inherently lends itself to all kinds of online shenanigans that a huge portion of DS owners, namely KIDS, shouldn’t be around. And it would be hard to censor, or to filter for content. Fox News is already scared enough by Pictochat. I can only imagine the kind of fit that they, as well as a number of legitimately concerned parents, would have if live video became a part of that same mix.

Long-term, I’d say the jury is still out. Who knows, maybe there will be a good way to monitor and cater age-appropriate video chat content on a gaming console at some point in the future. But right now, that possibility isn’t likely, not to mention that the current build for the 3DS doesn’t include the necessary software to make 3D video chat possible. While it may be a cool function to imagine using, I’m calling Iwata’s short-term bluff on this one.

Crabtree’s Call: Nintendon’t do it yet

Final Fantasy Versus XIII On Xbox 360?

N4G has been ablaze the past couple of days with news confirming, refuting, rebutting the refuting, and then some about the possibility of Final Fantasy Versus XIII making its way to the Xbox 360. Obviously it’s been a great topic for fanboy confrontation, but for Square Enix this is a real matter of numbers. Has Sony made it worthwhile for the title to remain a PS3 exclusive, or will this one go the way of FFXIII and incorporate the 360 gamer world?

Let’s get back to the argument’s roots. It all started when igamereport.com, an Australian gaming site, spotted a small blurb in the corner of a page of Game Informer Australia. The comment, made in what is very definitely a news section, simply states, “Ex-PS3 exclusive Final Fantasy Versus XIII is going multiformat.” And just like that, the gauntlet is laid down.

For some gamers, this wasn’t enough. Examiner.com, for example, posted a number of reasons for believing the claim to be bogus, chief of which being the unceremonious nature of its delivery. It’s a pretty legitimate point, given how recently E3 passed and the possibility for Microsoft to capitalize on such an announcement. Hell, there’s a lot of money to be made from the game, so why wouldn’t they?

Now back to igamereport, which, after contacting Game Informer Australia directly, received and posted a response saying, “Currently there is no confirmation from the vendors regarding the formats of FFv13, or if it will be a multiformat game.” So apparently the whole thing was just a mix-up of sorts, one that threw die-hard PS3 gamers into a real fit for a day or two and caused die-hard 360 gamers to prematurely pee their pants a little.

However, while it may remain that Game Informer Australia has no knowledge of Final Fantasy Versus XIII going multiformat, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. So what’s the likelihood? Well, Sony had their stranglehold on Final Fantasy titles for awhile, but obviously FFXIII proved that Square Enix had a price, meaning that’s not set in stone. And while Versus and Agito titles are generally geared more towards PS3 and Japanese gamers, the lack of much representation of these kinds of titles, especially featuring FF characters, on anything else leaves the possible market a real blank slate. Honestly, this is one where I flat out don’t know. It could go either way, despite all the tomfoolery over at GI Australia, so I’m calling this one a maybe.

Crabtree’s Call: Maybe?

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