2011 12 9 mindshare digital pov x box live refresh

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A year after launching its first console in November of 2001, Microsoft released the video game world’s first-ever online platform, Xbox LIVE. The subscription-based service allowed console owners to play with other subscribers around the world and also download content directly to the system’s hard drive. Within two months, more than 250K people had signed up.

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2011 12 9 mindshare digital pov x box live refresh

  1. 1. Xbox LIVE Geoff Greenblatt December 5, 2011 Environment Refresh Sam KerrPastA year after launching its first console in November of 2001, Microsoft released the video game world’sfirst-ever online platform, Xbox LIVE. The subscription-based service allowed console owners to play withother subscribers around the world and also download content directly to the system’s hard drive. Withintwo months, more than 250K people had signed up.Four years after the original Xbox’s release, Microsoft unveiled a successor, and within a year, the Xboxwas discontinued. The Xbox 360 provided superior storage, audio, and video capabilities for its players,but the main draw was the integrated capabilities of the enhanced Xbox LIVE service. With it, gamerscould now compete online more fluidly, download arcade games, game demos, trailers, TV shows, music,and movies more easily, and port PC content via its Windows Media Center more handily. Microsoft’sgoal: to make the console appeal to anyone that had a desire to be entertained.Over the years, Microsoft has undertaken a series of refreshes in order to make the environment itselfmore attractive to a broader demographic. Ease of use was a key component of its vision, and suchrefreshes continuously advanced this notion, removing the need to understand how to function theconsole’s complex controller and make the user feel as if maneuvering through the environment was onpar with television surfing.The first major refresh occurred in November of 2008, and accomplished just that: users could now flipthrough the environment and select what they wanted to see, play, or download. It was the first steptowards broadening the Xbox LIVE demographic base, namely making the environment more appealingas an entertainment system for men, women, children, elders, and core gamers, casual gamers and non-gamers alike.The second major refresh occurred in November of 2010 and coincided with the release of Xbox’smotion and voice controlled camera accessory, Kinect. The sharp graphics and slants of the environmentwere replaced with softer tonality and curvatures, as well as standard squares vs. overlapping, tiledpanes. With Kinect’s revolutionary, no-hands-needed technology attracting an entirely new set of videogame players, and with new entertainment additions going live on a consistent basis and increasing thealready-existing options such as Netfilx, ESPN, and Facebook, it was time for the feel of Xbox LIVE toappeal to the broadest pool of people possible: everyone.PresentThis December, LIVE has been refreshed once again. 2011’s additions are geared towards adding newgroundbreaking technology elements while unifying the look and feel of Microsoft’s Windows platformsacross PC, console, and mobile. Doing so will allow users to feel comfortable performing linear actionsacross the three while making entertainment experiences transferable via a cloud. The new look on Xboxwill mirror that already found on the Windows Mobile handsets and upcoming Windows 8 OS, with squaretiles representing options within various channels (called a Metro style). Screen space is saved by cyclingspotlight content through a large, central tile, with a small handful of tiles in each major categorydedicated to advertisements.New features will include downloadable apps, and users will now be able to save the specific programsthey are interested in using. Kinect capabilities will become more engrained in the dashboardenvironment; whereas until now they had been restricted to a very limited Kinect Hub, many componentswill be Kinect-enabled. The two will even be combined with Kinect-based apps being offered; an exampleof this: Burn, an app that tracks exercise stats based on physical game activity across various titles.Bing has been integrated into Xbox Live, giving users a more intuitive way to search for content on theLive Marketplace. By simply saying “Xbox, Bing, X-Men” will bring up not only the games, but also awealth of related trailers, movies, themes, music selections and even apps.Microsoft has also partnered with various cable providers, bringing more live TV channels to theentertainment box. Should a user find all of his or her favorite channels on Xbox, the console will be ableto replace cable boxes and save subscribers monthly box fees; only a cable service subscription will beneeded.Lastly, avatars will play an even larger role in the experience, and more elements will becomepersonalized with such representation; new content-finding components, such as Bing searchfunctionality, will continue to be introduced as well.
  2. 2. FutureThe December 2011 refresh will build towards Microsoft’s much-talked-about feather-in-its-cap unveilingin Spring, 2012: NuAds. Adding interactive and social features to television-based advertising throughthe console, users will be able to dive deeper with messaging and information while sharing what theylike with others through simple verbal commands. The new environment will act as the new platform’ssupport system, and by the time NuAds are released, users will be fully comfortable with the refresh’slook and features and will be ready to embrace them.ImplicationsFor advertisers, there is much to be excited about when it comes to the refresh.First, the hype will lead to more activity; participants are looking forward to seeing what the newenvironment will look like and how the new features will function. When they see that the new featuresare fun to play with, time on Xbox LIVE will only increase, and that means more potential for brands tobe found.Second, the brand experience has the potential to be enhanced should the brand so choose. Brand pagescan be more interactive, exciting, and personalized. Brand pages will now be able to be downloaded inapp form, and can always remain with the user, with content and messaging updates occurringseamlessly.Lastly, the new features will give the brand more options and visibility. Brands can embrace newopportunities available, and will be able to be found specifically or through content associations quiteeasily.Bottom LineMicrosoft is making a number of major advancements in the Xbox LIVE environment, and is being verystrategic in its rollout to make sure that users are excited while not capsizing any of its audience. Suchchanges will lead to a more seamless experience across all of the Microsoft tech platforms. All of thosewho know of the upcoming changes are very much looking forward to seeing what lies ahead, and thosewho are not aware of what the upcoming additions will be very pleasantly surprised. All of this leads to aplethora of benefits for advertisers and they should absolutely be salivating to embrace it all.Xbox LIVE continues to evolve and there has never been a better time to be a part of it all.

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