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Microsoft's hype machine is still rolling

360 origen treeLet's take a look back over the marketing schemes that have led us to launch. First of all, a mysterious tree appeared, tantalising ARG aficionados and Xbox followers worldwide. As a timer counted down, weeks passed, with the tree regularly changing, but no real clues surfacing. Then, finally, the timer ran out and all became clear--it was a competition for Europeans to attend a secretive event called Origen.

As dismay and outrage spread amongst the non-European gaming world, so did the hype and enthusiasm; making something inaccessible seems to be a sure-fire way to make people want it. Fortunately, Hex168 provided similar opportunities for Americans to attend the still-unspecified event, letting people send in their sightings of the "Hex". The winners of both Origen and Hex are partying away at Zero Hour, the exclusive 360 launch event, while the rest of the gaming world looks on in envy.

Along with the mystery of the Hex unfolding, rumours of shortages started to spread, which were fuelled--and confirmed--by reports coming in from stores worldwide. While Microsoft has confirmed today that these shortages are not a manufactured way of making sure the 360 sells out on launch, it's difficult to believe that the software giant failed to comprehend the effects of its near-simultaneous worldwide launch and large media campaign on the buying public.

While gamers everywhere are whipping themselves up into a frenzy over the 360--and we at Xbox 360 Fanboy are no exception--it will be interesting to see how the ad campaigns, including the Origen and Hex competitions, have an effect on the non-gaming public. They may be too jaded by gaming advertisements to ever get hooked, or the 360's media capabilities may spur some people to make their first console purchase.

The marketing machine is still going strong, with midnight launches nationwide to meet consumer demand, though it's hard to predict how much longer it will last. If enthusiasm for the 360 stays at current levels past launch, Sony and Nintendo will have to work hard to take gamers' interest away from Microsoft, but if shortages and botched preorders cause too much customer anger then the 360's rivals may stand a good chance.

Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. I guess I'm confused as to why they'd keep the hype machine going full steam ahead when, apparently, the systems are going to be so hard to get. I plunked down $50 in June at the local EB and I'm not getting a system out of the first shipment.

This continued hype would indicate to me that the shortage is fake. But if so, MS is *so* screwing over the retailers like EB and Gamestop, who've had to face many angry customers (like myself) that it seems like any fake shortage is doing more harm than good.

So anyway, where'm I going to get a 360 tomorrow morning?

Posted at 2:56PM on Nov 21st 2005 by Pete Smith

2. This is so different from sweden , i prebooked a premium system in late september , in a local EBgames store out side stockholm. The store manager says that all of the prebookings 62 of them will recvive them on 2 dec (1st shippment). What i can here there is no shortage in sweden.

Posted at 11:45AM on Nov 22nd 2005 by Mikael Torslund

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