Xbox marketing shifting focus to become 'an entertainment brand'

Xbox will become more than a gaming brand, a VP reveals. With 40% of all Xbox activity being "non-game," Microsoft will market the platform "more as an entertainment brand this year."

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It's no secret that for most of its two-console life cycle, Xbox has primarily attracted hardcore gamers. But through initiatives like Kinect, and its early partnership with Netflix, Xbox is reaching a much broader audience. In a recent blog, Frank Shaw, Microsoft VP of Corporate Communications, discussed the company's intent on making Xbox much more than just a gaming device. "Xbox = entertainment" is the new mantra, and a new campaign will echo that sentiment. "You’ll see Xbox marketed more as an entertainment brand this year," Shaw notes.

With more than 10 million Kinects sold so far, and newfound success with casual gamers, it shouldn't be surprising that the Xbox is becoming increasingly a non-gaming platform. In fact, Shaw notes that 40 percent of all Xbox activity is "non-game," with an average of 30 hours of monthly video playback per system. Expanding its focus beyond gaming is precisely why "you’ve seen us invest in partnerships with ESPN, Netflix and Hulu. That is why we’ve baked social directly into the experience with Xbox Live."

Shaw promises that next week's E3 conference will reveal "how far we’ve come." It's likely we'll see new video partnerships and new ways of using Kinect. And as exciting as that might be, we're hopeful Microsoft doesn't forget the real reason we're paying attention: we want great games.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 1, 2011 3:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Xbox marketing shifting focus to become 'an entertainment brand'.

    Xbox will become more than a gaming brand, a VP reveals. With 40% of all Xbox activity being "non-game," Microsoft will market the platform "more as an entertainment brand this year."

    • reply
      June 1, 2011 3:31 PM

      Like, Media Center or Zune or PlaysForSure?

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        June 1, 2011 5:30 PM

        No. But Netflix, Hulu and ESPN have done really well.

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      June 1, 2011 3:35 PM

      as long as they don't forget the other 60%

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      June 1, 2011 3:38 PM

      40% of all Xbox activity being "Netflix" LOL

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        June 1, 2011 3:44 PM

        It's pretty easy to teleconference into my klan meetings since xbox live started up, especially with party chat. Also our membership is up quite a bit.

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          June 1, 2011 3:48 PM

          klan? so THATS whos been shouting so much during my multiplayer games

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        June 1, 2011 3:45 PM

        Zune Marketplace has ~18% share of digital video content revenue so it's surely a bunch of people using that as well

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        June 2, 2011 6:15 AM

        For me it's about 90%.

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      June 1, 2011 3:49 PM

      I am apprehensive...

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      June 1, 2011 4:27 PM

      As long as they let me watch BBC iplayer on my 360 rather than not allowing me because the BBC wants people to be able to watch it for free on the 360 since UK citizens have already paid for it via TV license regadless of sivler vs gold membership (my sentances need more work this late at night). Hay who knows maybe I'll get to watch LoveFilms (Netflix) too and maybe even stream a greater variety of formats like .mkv, I'll just go sleep and dream shall I?

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      June 1, 2011 4:35 PM

      You would think that if MS and Sony wanted to be entertainment platforms for streaming content, they'd be at the doors of AT&T and Comcast telling them to ditch the stupid broadband caps.

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        June 1, 2011 5:11 PM

        but it's not their problem

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          June 1, 2011 5:28 PM

          If, as it is predicted, that the gaming market, along with entertainment, is going towards more and more streaming media, and the upstream pipeline is metered, people are not going to be spending their money to pay for streaming that they can only use in limited quantities.

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            June 2, 2011 6:17 AM

            Pretty much, they will eventually butt heads, right now they're just trying to play it as nice as possible but things will eventually have to change.

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      June 1, 2011 5:19 PM

      Great article, Mr. Yoon.

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      June 1, 2011 5:21 PM

      If I write out XboxPhone it looks like a gamer named Phone in the clan 'bo'

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      June 1, 2011 5:49 PM

      A sign of health for the brand, that things are comfortable enough for it diversify. Live is still their crown jewel and will define Xbox more than anything else. Hardware comes and goes but Microsoft got the first mover advantage with Live and they just need to keep that edge and extend it to other devices while adding features like cloud/server side processing and storage. I say next generation Xbox and Xbox Live rollout in 2013.

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      June 1, 2011 6:07 PM

      This just makes me think that we'll see a new Xbox by the end of next year, and Microsoft wants to position the 360 as a lower-cost alternative that it can continue to sell for years to more casual consumers, in the same way that Sony was able to keep the PS2 going strong after the PS3 launched.

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        June 1, 2011 6:08 PM

        I think it's pretty much a given that the 360 will be supported well into the next gen lifecycle ala the PS2. They won't kill off support for the 360 like they did with Xbox 1, especially with Kinect getting its foot in the door.

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        June 1, 2011 9:06 PM

        I still say 2013 is the earliest you'll see a new Xbox hitting shelves.

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      June 1, 2011 6:56 PM

      Support .MKV and all the other formats like the Patriot Box and the AC Ryan media boxes and then will talk. I can give a rats ass about "streaming" from my PC. If it can't do it naturally through the XBox itself, it'll never be a media box!

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        June 2, 2011 6:26 AM

        I stream MKV from my windows box to my 360 no problem, with no special software.

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      June 1, 2011 7:01 PM

      As much as I enjoy my 360 and my XBL sub and watching netflix on it I honestly can't see myself buying any kind of device for $300 as an entertainment unit with the limitations of a 360. I mean, the DVD player doesn't do any SD>HD scaling worth mentioning. It doesn't have blu-ray. The codecs are still somewhat limited in terms of streaming them via Media Center. There's also a lot of services not accessible on a 360 and won't be until MS adds them.

      In the end it comes down to this simple question: Is there anything other than gaming worth doing on a 360 that can't be done better on a HTPC? 360 needs blu-ray and 7.2 before actually being something of value seeing as in order to use the entertainment capacities of the platform you also have to sub to XBL. That $60 annual could be put towards a higher quality mobo or soundcard on an HTPC. Then again, people who buy consoles tend to be tech illiterate so, w/e, I'm probably fully biased due to not being the target audience.

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        June 1, 2011 7:17 PM

        ]/ I'm probably fully biased due to not being the target audience.]/
        There you go.

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        June 1, 2011 9:05 PM

        Then again, people who buy consoles tend to be tech illiterate

        You realize that's a remarkably ignorant statement, right? There are a ton of PC gamers I know in real life and here on the shack, myself included, who still enjoy PC games but find consoles to be an equally enjoyable way to play games.

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          June 2, 2011 12:50 PM

          I am also one of those PC gamers as well. But I also have 100 people on my flist and only around 3-4 of them have the technical 'expertise' to trigger ports, do a tracert, research the input lag on hdtvs let alone build a PC from scratch. So, they do 'tend' to be tech illiterate and trying to dispute this by pointing out the small group of users who the statement did not apply to isn't really making any kind of point.

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        June 1, 2011 9:07 PM

        "I mean, the DVD player doesn't do any SD>HD scaling worth mentioning"

        I've had the opposite experience. From what I've seen, the XBOX upscaler is excellent. Granted, the last time I did a detailed comparison, it was against the ps2 which had no scaling. However, there was a very noticeable difference, so there is at least some decent scaling going on. I haven't compared it against a standalone upscaling DVD player, but I have done some quick comparisons of the XBOX 360 vs the PS3 and they look pretty close in terms of upscaling.

        The problem with XBOX 360 is that the upscaler is only enabled with certain connectors. The Compoonent connections will disable the upscaling due to some stupid DRM type rule, so I went out and got the VGA adapter which somehow works around that restriction. I haven't tested it with HDMI since I already have the VGA adapter, so your your mileage may vary. However, if you have an old XBOX and are using the component connector then that would explain your issue.

        This covers it: http://forums.highdefdigest.com/hd-dvd-video-game-consoles/30659-xbox-360-upscaling.html

        Looks like HDMI is supposed to upscale the same as the VGA adapter, so if you're using HDMI and still not satisfied then you must have something with an excellent upscaler to compare it to.

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        June 1, 2011 9:12 PM

        but, you're using a device that cost $300 for your entertainment unit - with the limitations of the 360. because it's a 360.

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        June 1, 2011 9:24 PM

        guess what, i use my 360 to stream dvd rips from my computer to my tv. i could certainly buy something else but i don't "require" blu ray at this time, so it's working great. i bought it to play games and hey i can stream video to it! works just fine for me for right now, and i bet for a lot of people

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        June 1, 2011 10:35 PM

        With streaming, the need for BluRay will diminish in the marketplace as time goes on and few people have a 5.1 system let alone 7.2. Those with 5.1 and beyond are not going to be using a console as their primary playback device (PS3 included). The phrase "good enough" gets bandied about a lot in console vs PC debates and it can be used here in the context of entertainment and media playback devices.

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          June 1, 2011 10:42 PM

          plenty of people have 5.1. i wouldn't assume that because someone has 5.1 that means they automatically only use highend components to play back video. a PS3 paired with a 5.1 system is quite good for most people.

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            June 2, 2011 6:10 AM

            I have 7.2 and frankly for most movies it's not that important. You're not going to watch The Other Guys in mere 5.1 and feel like you're missing something.

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              June 2, 2011 6:14 AM

              No, but there's a huge difference in how everything sounds. Surround audio isn't just for directional sounds like explosions or things flying by front to back- it can also make scenes with just dialogue or subtle ambient audio a lot better. When I switch back to stereo for streaming- even on basic TV shows- the difference is huge.

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                June 2, 2011 7:10 AM

                Oh, for certain. It's an amazing technology, but I don't know if I need to be wrapped up in the sound cocoon of, say, Cannonball Run 2.

                Actually I take that back. That might be awesome in 7.2. But you get my point, I think.

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        June 2, 2011 6:07 AM

        Actually, I think you might have it backwards. Everything I've seen about Blu-Ray sales is along the lines of what MSFT predicted a couple years ago. In short "Um, where's our volume?" The jump from DVD to Blu-Ray has been a much bigger obstacle for most people than was originally predicted, and with streaming HD now a viable option, Blu Ray has problems.

        And don't get me wrong. I have quite a few Blu-Ray discs and I can't argue that the quality is not better than most streaming HD, but it's just not enough to get me to buy a movie unless I LOVE it. In fact, most of my Blu-Ray stuff is for the kids, because the packages offered a digital copy, a DVD copy and a Blu-Ray copy. Part of the reason people don't move away from DVD is because they have portable DVD players for their kids, after all.

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      June 1, 2011 9:02 PM

      My tv is connected to a computer which is in a case only a little bigger than the xbox and does all of this already and then some

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        June 2, 2011 6:20 AM

        Headline reads: "Shacker not target audience for new Xbox as entertainment device compaign."

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      June 1, 2011 9:45 PM

      It's nice to want things, marketing VP. Xbox is firmly set as a gaming brand. The mainstream is going to buy a 60$ streaming box or, preferably, a built-in app in their new television.

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        June 1, 2011 9:47 PM

        lots of internet TVs and blu-ray players coming out now

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        June 1, 2011 10:31 PM

        It's all about closing that price gap. If the next xbox has a blu-ray player and even better media streaming options, now you don't have to buy that $150 blu-ray player.

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      June 1, 2011 10:27 PM

      Shifting? The xbox now has Netflix, Hulu+, ESPN3, Last.FM, Zune, streams videos/music/pics from DLNA servers, streams live tv and dvr from WMC, etc, etc. The shift to an "entertainment brand" has already happened.

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      June 2, 2011 2:14 AM

      Xbox doing media streaming, netflix etc is all well and good but i bought it for gaming and i use it primarily for gaming.

      Aslong as the games keep coming i will keep giving them money.

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      June 2, 2011 6:20 AM

      Meanwhile Sony did this with the PS3 from day one. I am glad Microsoft is doing this, but where they are just now changing their marketing to this? Considering how long the 360 has been a very capable entertainment box (pretty much day one) it really took them this long?

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      June 2, 2011 8:11 AM

      Oh big deal. 95% of PS3 use is non-gaming. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it Microshaft!!1111

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