XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd..

XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd.. XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd.. XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd.. XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd.. XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd.. XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd.. XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd.. XBox 2 Website Colonized Contd..

The hype continues and it seems that Microsoft's PR behemoth has gone into high gear in anticipation of E3 2005. This time the mystery surprise was a high quality image of a car that popped as a challenge for eager colonists.

The image is clearly a render of a red Ferrari though if you are a racecar enthusiast you may recognize the model as a Modena 360. The image of the challenge includes the text Stella's peddler. Imagine if he had one of these. The links with Microsoft seem to be getting stronger as this is claimed to be a preview of Project Gotham 3, a game confirmed to be an XBox 2 title. Team XBox, apparently, opened the image file in a Hex editor and discovered the text C.a.r.R.e.n.d.e.r.3.6.0._M.a.g.a.z.i.n.e._.C.o.v.e.r._.r.e._t.o.u.c.h.e.d.u.p.

The image looks good but it is unlikely that it is an in-game one, especially judging by the text revealed by Team XBox. The PGR 3 connection does not stop there however, as both previous installments had a Ferrari cover girl, PGR1 featured an F-50 while PGR 2 an Enzo.

Now, we will not put this image next to a real Modena 360 and we will not speculate that the 360's, shared by automobile and possibly next-gen console are significant but we will say that if Microsoft managed to stay afloat with an initial name such as XBox, XBox 360 should prove a piece of cake to promote. A quick look at the XBox 2 controllers and the ourcolony website, on the next page of this article, should confirm that Microsoft will devote a lot of its pre-release campaign to the circle (360 degrees) and expect a variety of Circle of Light and Ring of Light type slogans.

We still think that the campaign is fairly weak and that it is doubtful that it will take the console much beyond its already existing user base, after all most colonists are members of XBox Live clans.

For those of you interested, the Atari 2600 was codenamed Stella and one of the creators owned a bike shop while helping develop it... This would make the text on the challenge relevant as it would be Microsoft asking you to imagine what it would be like if the Atari 2600 could render something as intricate and complex as that Ferrari is....

Having witnessed first hand the success of Sony's alternative advertising for the Playstation 2 console, Microsoft appears to be going down a similar route for its upcoming XBox 2. The mystery of and the ant-invasion is slowly unraveling before our eyes and today's Microsoft/MTV joint announcement regarding the on air unveiling of the new console seems to have sealed MS involvement on the website.

The story begins during this year's GDC; while Microsoft's J. Allard was demonstrating the new XBox Live service, he chose to use his own gamer profile as an example and a picture of him came up on screen wearing a t-shirt featuring the ant logo which has now become an trademark.

Microsoft's association with 4orty2wo Entertainment is another clue to origins as the company, established by a couple of former MS employees, specializes in alternative ad campaigns. They are the people behind last year's Halo 2, campaign which had fans racing from payphone to payphone trying to get early hints on the Halo 2 story.

This time the website seems more like a competition setup rather than just a teaser ad campaign or the aptly named ARG (alternate reality game) as 4orty 2wo prefers to call it. The website is accessible only if you manage to figure out the password from the rather odd introductory message. For those of you still struggling with that password, one rather odd clue sent in by one of our readers, is that it is the first word of a feature on UK BBC Television which brought the theatre to the small screen and which later became the title of a song by The Cure. If you actually found that clue helpful then accessing is not your only problem.

The administrators of the website have spread fliers and stickers displaying the ant and the word 'Colony' all over the U.S.

The strongest link between Microsoft and the ourcolony effort is the countdown present on the website. Following the MTV/MS announcement about the first appearance of the new XBox on May 12th on the music channel, it became obvious that the countdown on the ourcolony website matches that time-frame. Elijah Wood and The Killers will host a half-hour global premiere for the new console, with a performance from The Killers, airing exclusively on MTV channels around the world May 12 and 13. The global broadcast will premiere Thursday, May 12, at 9:30 p.m. EDT in North America and on Friday, May 13 in other regions around the globe (local air times below). The premiere also promises in-game footage from next-generation games so the entire gaming community is getting excited about it.

MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed - Air Times

North America: Thursday, May 12, at 9:30 p.m. (21:30)

Japan/Asia: Friday, May 13, at 11:30

Europe: France: Friday, May 13, at 19:00

Germany: Friday, May 13, at 19:00

Italy: Friday, May 13, at 23:30

Netherlands: Friday, May 13, at 19:30

Poland: Friday, May 13, at 21:00

Portugal: Friday, May 13, at 20:00

Romania: Friday, May 13, at 20:00

Scandinavia: Friday, May 13, at 22:00

Spain: Friday, May 13, at 21:30

U.K.: Friday, May 13, at 20:00

Australia: Friday, May 13, at 19:00

Before you start the jokes remember that participants to the ourcolony effort will, most probably, be rewarded in some way. The concept behind the website is to utilize word of mouth.

In order to participate, each user has to either create or be recruited by a colony. Once a colony reaches 5 members it is presented with a challenge and for every five new members you get another challenge. Due to the nature of the website and the strong XBox connection, XBox Live clans seem to be doing very well at this and some have already received prizes from the website, prizes which include cryptic close-ups of what looks like an XBox controller.

A collage of two separate images sent to 'Challenge' winners by

The images have puzzled XBox enthusiasts and comparisons to the current XBox controllers and to images of next-generation controllers claimed to have been leaked, have begun in earnest.

As if all this and an ant with an X on its abdomen were not enough to convince us of an link, we have MS itself acting conspicuously when asked about the subject. On J. Allard's appearance with an t-shirt at GDC the company claims that he is a gamer and has such interests. The fact however, is that the site was not available or known at the time Allard turned up with the t-shirt. Finally when asked, directly, about the website Microsoft stated We're aware of the fact that has captured the imagination of thousands of gamers across the world, and that these gamers have taken control of the site and are making it their own.

Now that sounds a lot like a confession.