Xbox Live makes connection

Microsoft’s strategy for winning the console turf war involves widening the Xbox 360’s appeal far beyond hardcore gamers by adding applications that build into a digital entertainment system.

Microsoft may have been a latecomer to the console industry but it is banking on the Xbox 360 to deliver a sales boost in the run-up to Christmas. But rather than relying on promoting its technical hardware and specifications of the Xbox, Microsoft is concentrating on the multiple experiences all consumers can have with the console, not just core gamers.

To achieve its aims, the manufacturer has launched its biggest Christmas campaign to date, including taking over a whole ad break during ITV1 primetime show The X Factor last month. It has also teamed up with Global Radio and singer Lily Allen to produce a new commercial to break during the show’s final next week.

Xbox UK marketing director Stephen McGill says: “We have to really talk to people about the new Xbox experience – being able to play hit games, but also watch TV shows and movies and use the “Live” function to play anyone at any time online.”

The brand’s campaign began on 2 October and will run until the end of the year, with a focus on Xbox 360 as the destination for instant, on-demand high definition movies, unique music experiences and live TV. It will run retail, TV and digital executions in the UK and Ireland, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

In France, it will also push its association with live football broadcast on the Canal+ channel, while in the UK its TV sports offering will include services from online radio station and Sky, using the voices of DJ Jo Wiley and actor Jason Flemyng, along with music from new band The Big Pink.

McGill says: “We know competition continues to mount, so this is the perfect time to stand up and shout about all our new innovations that people may not be aware of. It’s important that we stop taking baby steps, carry on growing and take Xbox into the mainstream.”

To describe Xbox as taking “baby steps” is perhaps unfair for a brand that launched the original Xbox eight years ago. Over 10 million Xbox 360 consoles have been sold across Europe, the Middle East and Africa this year to date and, according to Microsoft, the Xbox 360 is the only console to show year-on-year growth for 2009.

Facts & figures

  • The original Xbox was first released in the US in November 2001 and in the UK in March 2002.
  • The original Xbox sold 24 million units worldwide before it was discontinued in May 2006.
  • The Xbox 360 was launched in November 2006 in the US and a month later in the UK.
  • More than 31.6 million Xbox 360 consoles have sold in the 37 countries where they are currently available.
  • The Xbox Live online service is available in 25 countries across the globe.
  • Gamers have bought more software for the Xbox 360 (24.3 million units), than software for Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii combined (19.8 million units).
  • Xbox Live passed the 17 million member milestone earlier this year. It claims to add a new Xbox Live member every 8 seconds.
  • There are more than 720 games available on Xbox 360, including 269 Xbox Live Arcade games.
  • About 6.3 games are sold per Xbox 360 owner.
  • Xbox Live members have spent more than 3.2 billion hours playing games with friends around the world – equal to 137 million days of gaming, or more than 376,000 years.
  • There have been about 290 million downloads of gaming and entertainment content from Xbox Live Marketplace.
  • Xbox Live is one of the largest social networks in the living room with 2.6 million instant, text and voice messages sent over the service every day.
  • More than 3.1 billion games sessions have been hosted on Xbox Live.
  • The average Xbox Live Gold subscriber has 23 friends on their Xbox Live friends list.
  • More than 1.2 billion cross-game invites have been sent since the launch of Xbox 360.

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