SEATTLE Microsoft Corp said on Monday it has sold more than 1 million of its new hands-free Kinect gaming systems in the first 10 days since launch, putting it on track to beat its target of 5 million sales by the end of the year.
The world's largest software company is hoping the Kinect will help revitalize sales of its Xbox game console this holiday shopping season and counter competing motion-based gaming systems from Nintendo Co, which makes the Wii, and Sony Corp, which introduced its Move product two months ago.
"It's a strong start," said Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft's game unit, in a telephone interview on Monday. "Consumers are loving it."
The Kinect -- a sensing device you plug into the Xbox which allows you to play games just by moving your body and speaking commands -- is priced at $150 for a standalone unit and $300 bundled with a 4 gigabyte Xbox console.
It went on sale in U.S. stores November 4, although many customers had pre-ordered units, likely causing a spike in early sales. Microsoft is hoping sales will stay hot as the day after Thanksgiving -- one of the biggest shopping days of the year, known as 'Black Friday' -- approaches on November 26.
More than 30,000 U.S. stores are selling Kinect in the United States, including branches of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target Corp, Best Buy Co, GameStop Corp and online at Amazon.com. It went on sale on November 10 in Europe and is due to go on sale in Asia on November 18.
Ultimately, Microsoft is hoping the new technology will help extend the role of its Xbox 360, which has sold 45 million units, and introduce a concept that is expected to feature in forms of electronics and computers in the next few years.
Microsoft shares were trading unchanged after hours, after closing down 7 cents at $26.20 on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Bernard Orr)