What you need to know
- The Las Vegas Sphere is a huge arena-meets-digital-billboard in the famous Nevada city.
- The sphere is comprised of over a million LED pixels that can act as a gigantic spherical screen, both outside and inside.
- U2 recently performed a gig there within its 18,000 interior capacity, and firms are lining up to take advantage of its unique exterior marketing capabilities.
- Microsoft has joined the fray, with this impressive new ad for the Xbox platform.
Microsoft is kicking up its Xbox Series X|S marketing a notch for the holidays, starting with this huge and impressive installation at the Las Vegas Sphere.
Microsoft recently completed its purchase of Activision-Blizzard-King, in a deal worth over 70 billion dollars. It will likely be a while before Xbox and PC gamers in Microsoft's ecosystem see direct benefits of the partnership, but the promise is pretty clear. Call of Duty will finally emerge on Nintendo Switch and competing cloud platforms, per promises to regulators. We could also see premium titles like Diablo 4 hit Xbox Game Pass in 2024, saving Xbox consumers vast amounts over time. The promise of service titles in Xbox Cloud Gaming also boosts the portability factor of Xbox, too. Microsoft has also signaled it wants to revive dormant IP like StarCraft and Guitar Hero.
None of it matters, however, if Xbox console sales continue to lag behind. Sales figures emerging out of Europe for September (Germany and the UK excluded) suggested that big exclusives like Starfield failed to improve Xbox's sell-through potential against the PS5, which saw a triple-digit surge year over year. By comparison, Xbox was down 38% year over year across the continent. Microsoft did, however, see a 136% surge in the UK over the same period, largely attributable to Starfield.
Microsoft seeks to expand its gaming footprint beyond Xbox consoles across to PC and mobile, but this fresh marketing push signals that they're not planning to go down without a fight.
Shared by Xbox's Jeff Rubenstein on Twitter (X), Microsoft demonstrated an impressive installation at the Las Vegas Sphere. The Sphere is a huge 18,000 spherical arena that houses over a million LED panels to create both interior and exterior digital displays. The Xbox logo and iconography was an obvious shoo-in for the installation, resulting in the above impressive montage of current and upcoming Xbox games.
Microsoft also debuted another live-action trailer recently, titled "Wake Up and Dream," continuing the Xbox Series X|S "Power your dreams" campaign some of you may be familiar with.
Ramping up Xbox marketing
I wrote a little while ago about how the Xbox platform was suffering with Microsoft wholly distracted by its regulatory battles with Activision-Blizzard. Despite launching out of the gate with some positive momentum with the Xbox Series X|S in 2020, the following years were relatively anemic for broadly compelling Xbox content.
Microsoft had some big wins too, of course, and many of its titles launched to critical acclaim. Xbox Game Pass continues to be the best value subscription service in the entire industry, and Microsoft's internal studios are building some seriously impressive-looking titles like Hellblade 2 and Clockwork Revolution. Microsoft will likely struggle again up against PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch going into the holiday season. Sony's Spider-Man 2 looks set to be a major system seller, going up against Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. Wonder.
A fresh marketing push we're seeing could help Xbox maintain visibility, although it could've perhaps used another big exclusive title as we head towards the winter months. Potential discounts running up to Black Friday could also help Xbox Series X|S fortunes this Q4.
Microsoft's goal of having consistent high-quality Xbox Game Pass inclusions should kick into high gear in 2024, with many projects delayed by Covid finally reaching launch status. There's also Activision-Blizzard, whose games enjoy a strong legacy, passionate fanbase, and regular strong sales throughput. Microsoft has signaled that it will keep Call of Duty the same across all platforms, but it's not hard to imagine ABK teams providing Xbox with some exclusives in the coming years — many of which could be system sellers.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!