Microsoft has started airing the first North American ad for its upcoming Xbox One, the more-than-just-a-games console set for release in 13 global markets on 22 November.
The 30-second Xbox One spot ties in with the just-started NFL season and interestingly, doesn't spend a moment highlighting the traditional use of a games console, which is to say, playing video games.
Instead, the ad focuses on ways the Xbox One can enhance the game-watching experience for NFL fans and in particular, new streams that update fantasy football stats and information alongside gamecasts, with a toss to Microsoft's integration of Skype with the Kinect sensor in its next-generation console platform.
Timing is everything, of course, and the return of the most popular pro sport in the United States could serve as a solid launching pad for Microsoft to showcase the versatility of its new, £429 console to potential customers outside of the gaming world. Showing folks revved up over their fantasy football prospects certainly seems like it could be a smart choice by Microsoft.
But is launching your big media blitz for a new game console without ever mentioning gaming itself really a wise choice? "[T]here isn't a controller in sight [in Microsoft's Xbox One ad] as Kinect is used for voice-control input," notes Geek.com, concluding, "That's all great, but it seems strange to lead off your advertising campaign with a non-games commercial."
Meanwhile, in other Xbox One news, Microsoft Studios vice president Phil Spencer this week gave Game Informer the blow-by-blow on the software giant's strategy for rolling out its initial run of new consoles more efficiently than it did with the Xbox 360 back in 2005.
"We feel great about our hardware yield. We feel great about the number of units we're going to have at launch. Our pre-orders are going really well; better than they did for the 360," Spencer told the gaming site. "You want people to be able to walk in the store and buy one on day one, so you're trying to manage the inventory that isn't pre-sold ... I want parents who don't think about pre-ordering electronics to be able to walk in and have a chance to find a box."
Spencer also appeared to allude to the company's recent pivots on some key initial platform requirements after receiving strong backlash from the gaming community.
Perhaps touching on the course-reversals Microsoft did on initial requirements that the Xbox One's Kinect sensor always be turned on, that the console have an Internet connection to work, and restrictions on used and resold games, Spencer told Game Informer that developer interest in the new platform is strong even if "[i] t doesn't mean everybody loves us."