XBox Goes Bar Hopping

XBox Goes Bar Hopping

With the upcoming, November 15, launch of XBox Live and the holiday season imminent, Microsoft are determined to give the ailing XBox an edge over the competition. The first step towards achieving that edge was to make XBox the most attractive, value for money console available. Including Sega GT 2002, a racing game, and Sega's Jet Set Radio Future in the USD 199 price tag for the game machine Microsoft created a very appealing offer.

In a move to further enhance the image of their console, Microsoft have struck a deal with Budweiser, which will see XBox involved in an interactive bar program. The video game system, is scheduled to visit bars, clubs and pubs during evening hours, for contemporary adult consumers 21 years old or older. The national program will be conducted in more than 100 markets by nearly 300 Anheuser-Busch wholesalers from Oct. 28 through the end of the year.

Market analysts claim this is the decisive move which demonstrates that Microsoft have decided that the only hope for XBox's survival lies with the mature consumer, over 21 years of age, and that they have turned to XBox Live as their way of ensuring that survival. Initially many had suggested that Microsoft should target younger consumers , since they were seen to be the driving force behind console sales. Microsoft however, are trying to bring games consoles into the mainstream and in order to do that you do have to focus on adult consumers. The question then becomes, is the mainstream market ready for consoles and more importantly, is the technology behind XBox adequate in order to support the mainstream market?

Despite the doubts, Microsoft are pushing on, The program with Budweiser provides great visibility for Xbox and our new Microsoft Game Studios games within a key adult audience, said Cindy Spodek Dickey, group manager for Xbox at Microsoft. Xbox has been leading the video game industry in innovation and realism since its launch last year, and we're proud to bring exciting gaming action into new venues this fall. This is the start of an ongoing marketing relationship for Anheuser-Busch and Xbox. We look forward to working together to build on the leadership both companies have in their respective industries.

More than 300 Xbox systems and RCA Vport televisions will be used to showcase Xbox games through approximately 1,200 promotions per week. The promotion provides an open-play format in which consumers 21 and older can play new video games while visiting bars and clubs.

Getting together with friends and playing video games are two key interests of contemporary adult consumers across the country, said Dan Hoffmann, director of retail sales promotion at Anheuser-Busch. This is a great opportunity for the Budweiser brand, a leader in the beer industry, to work with Xbox, a leader in video game entertainment, to bring exciting new video games to men and women 21 and older in places where they like to socialize already.

A full line of Xbox/Budweiser point-of-sale materials and premium items will be offered. In addition, adult consumers can win giveaway items such as Xbox games or merchandise coupons by participating in the promotion.