The Xbox gaming console is the most notable hardware product developed to-date by Seattle software Microsoft, launched in 2001 as a direct rival to Nintendo and Sony. It has generally proved a worthy challenger to its Japanese rivals, boosted by a number of popular exclusive titles, not least the Halo franchise, developed inhouse. Microsoft has boosted its output of new games with a series of acquisitions of development studios, not least holding company ZeniMax, acquired in 2021 for $8.1bn. That deal adds a collection of well-known studios to its collection including id Software, Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks. Xbox Live is an online community that sits behind the main device, allowing game downloads as well as streaming of other entertainment. Microsoft has also dabbled in a number of other hardware sectors, but with somewhat less success. Among its failed products was the Zune music player, intended as a rival to Apple's iPod, but which sank almost without trace soon after launch. More recently, the group introduced the Surface tablet to compete with iPad and other tablets, and attempted to carve out a presence in the mobile phone market through the creation of a global alliance with handset developer Nokia. It subsequently acquired full control of Nokia's handset operations in 2013 for a total of around $7.2bn, but there was little improvement in sales of those devices under their new name Lumia, and Microsoft quietly exited the mobile market altogether in 2017. For now, then, Xbox remains the group's most successful hardware device, even if it has lost a little of its early shine as a result of relentless competition from Playstation. As of March 2019, the current Xbox One console had around 25% of the global gaming console market, compared to 56% for Sony's Playstation 4. Even so, the overall market continues to grow at a rapid rate. Gaming and Devices are grouped as part of Microsoft's More Personal Computing division. For the year to June 2021, revenues from gaming were around $15bn, a best ever result, and up by a third on the year before. Revenues from Surface were approx $6.3bn.
Capsule checked 30th July 2021
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Historical profile information for Xbox
Adbrands Daily Update 12th Oct 2020: "Us Dreamers". The stakes arguably couldn't be higher for the impending battle royale between Microsoft and Sony's new competing consoles, both set for launch in time for the holiday season. With new lockdowns looming, home entertainment has never been more important. This spectacular spot from 215 McCann for the new Xbox X and S series borrows the body and digital likeness of 'Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya for a true out of body experience, the flipside if you like of what he went through in that breakthrough movie.
Adbrands Daily Update 25th Jul 2020: "Halo Infinite: Step Inside". It's no coincidence if this stunning extended trailer for the latest iteration of Xbox's long-running Halo franchise reminds you of the 'Westworld' opening credits. Long-standing Xbox agency 215 McCann hired Patrick Clair and Raoul Marks of Antibody Film Lab, creators of that sequence as well as titles for such other shows as 'True Detective' and 'The Crown', to helm the spot. It's a visually spectacular film, the kind of thing you'd actually want to watch on a cinema screen rather than a gaming monitor, and it kicks off a new battle. No, not between humanity and the alien Covenant, but between Microsoft and Sony. On the 20th anniversary of the Halo franchise, the release of this new 'Halo: Infinite' game later in the year will also coincide with the launch of a ramped-up Xbox Series X console, and the simultaneous unveiling of Playstation 5. Yes, the console wars are back and coming to your house this holiday season.
Adbrands Daily Update 3rd Oct 2019: Microsoft took investors by surprise with an unexpected return to the smartphone sector, two years after the software giant called quits on its ownership of Nokia mobile. Next year, the Surface tablet collection will be joined by two dual screen devices. Surface Neo is a folding tablet that opens like a book to reveal two separate screens that work in tandem in roughly the same landscape format as a traditional desktop monitor (or can be adapted to operate independently of one another); as well as third linked panel for the keyboard. More significantly, Surface Duo is the size of most smartphones when closed, but offers a similar dual screen set-up when opened. While the Duo uses Windows 10 software, the smaller devices runs on the Android mobile operating system, tweaked to accommodate the twin screens, and will include mobile connectivity. Microsoft worked with Google's Android team to develop the software. Both devices are set to launch late next year; Microsoft said it is announcing well in advance in order to give developers time to prepare for the new twin-screen platform.
Adbrands Social Media 25th Apr 2019: "Visit Xbox". A different kind of tourism ad here from McCann London, encouraging viewers to visit the magical lands to be found inside the new Xbox One X Enhanced console. It's a great idea; a welcome change of both style and pace from traditional gaming ads, which either usually offer gameplay or some live action movie-style sequence "inspired" by the game. This ad lets the graphics of the games and the console do all the talking, and the results are lovely to watch. Now all we need is a crib sheet so we known which landscape belong to what game; or you can check out the linked website for more details.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jun 2018: Cannes Lions 2018. The first batch of winners were announced from Cannes Lions 2018. (See the full run-down, including all the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners at the Cannes Lions 2018 website). Creative eCommerce is one of five new categories this year. Its first Grand Prix went to McCann London for a campaign to promote Microsoft's Xbox Design Lab, an ecommerce store where players can buy personally customised controller handsets for their consoles. McCann turned the concept around, allowing gamers to create their own controller designs, and then offer those same finished products for sale to other players through the store or their own social media channels. They received commission on every sale, with the top earner making over $1,000.
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