Editor's comment: Microsoft's controlling interest

Microsoft is waging war for control of your living room. This week the company fired the latest volley in its battle against its console rivals with a $500m marketing drive backing Kinect, its new motion-sensing control system for the Xbox 360.

Despite coming relatively late to market, Kinect has the potential to transform the in-home entertainment experience. It does away with a traditional controller in favour of the player's own body. It can track movements in real-time, recognise who in a room is participating, and respond to multiple voice commands.

However, competition - from Nintendo's market-leading Wii and Sony PlayStation's Move - is tough. The former has wooed the casual gamer, with ads starring saccharine celebrities such as Ant & Dec, while the latter is also building mass-market resonance with a warm and cuddly marketing drive. In contrast, Xbox 360 has long been the console of choice for the hardcore gamer, synonymous with those who don't mind losing the odd day to Gears of War.

The fact that Microsoft is betting the bank on Kinect reveals the strategic importance of the Xbox 360 to its future. Not only is Microsoft hoping that Kinect will spearhead its expansion into the hugely lucrative casual gaming market, but in the long term it hopes to establish Xbox 360 as the focal point of the modern living room.

If Microsoft gets its way, Xbox 360 will supplant the TV, PC and games console to become the multimedia hub through which consumers watch video-on-demand, surf the web, access social networks and play real-time games against friends.

Given that Apple, BT, Google and virtually every other technology company worth its salt are vying for control of this convergent media future, Microsoft's marketing challenge appears huge. Luckily, however, its pockets are also very deep.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message