Xbox One takes on PS4 with Steven Gerrard ad
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Microsoft has recruited England football captain Steven Gerrard and Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto for the global TV advertising campaign for its new Xbox One games console, which launches next month.
Sony has already launched teaser ads for its rival PlayStation 4 console, also going on sale next month, in the first shots in a worldwide marketing battle with Microsoft likely to be worth several hundred million dollars.
Microsoft declined to comment on the cost of its Xbox One campaign, the largest ever undertaken for its flagship games console brand. However, the cost of such a global marketing blitz including TV advertising is likely to be at least $100m, according to industry sources who have worked on such campaigns.
The ad campaign features Gerrard, Quinto in character as Star Trek's Spock and other stars, along with characters from top games titles – such as games Dead Rising 3, Ryse and Titanfall – "beckoning" to viewers to join them in the Xbox One revolution.
Microsoft's Xbox One campaign will launch online on Friday. The campaign breaks in the US on Sunday, and in the UK next week, prior to the Xbox One going on sale on 22 November.
Sony's PS4 launches in the US on 15 November and in the UK on 29 November. The Japanese electronics giant has already put out teaser ads for its PS4 launch – including the nostalgic "For The Players Since 1995", looking back over the PlayStation console's 18-year history, and "Perfect Day", using the Lou Reed song. Sony's PS4 promotional push also includes a "Greatness Awaits" website.
Microsoft's campaign, "Invitation", invites fans to have a go at Xbox One games and will include cinema, radio, digital, social and retail marketing, as well as big scale promotions with global brands such as Doritos and Mountain Dew.
Xbox One is Microsoft's first new console since the XBox 360 debuted in 2005, with the software giant promising a range of innovations includingvoice and gesture-activated features.
Microsoft said it was launching a "fan-centric" campaign that aims to position the console as the "only all-in-one entertainment system that brings together content loved by gamers, movie buffs, sports fans, and TV lovers, all in one place".
Piers Harding-Rolls, director, head of games, at analysts IHS, said that the launch is critical in Microsoft's battle against rivals such as the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation franchise.
"Xbox One is enormously important to Microsoft and represents the company's core strategy for engaging the consumer in the living room," he said. "Microsoft aims to spread its gaming and entertainment wings on to new Windows platforms and third-party devices to maintain direct engagement with consumers across multiple screens."
According to IHS, sales of the existing Xbox 360 will hit almost 80m globally by the end of the year. Rival PS3 will have sold 75.4m consoles and the Nintendo Wii 97.8m.
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