Microsoft seems to be reinventing the Xbox 360. Â This reinvention could also be a huge opportunity for retail brands looking to market to Generation Y.
After an interesting assignment for one of my Information Sciences & Technology classes at Penn State, I have decided on doing a weekly Marketing Analysis of an emerging technology, including what it might mean for those looking to market to the Generation Y.
I recently ran into an interesting video on YouTube (even though it has been on YouTube for awhile) about a project Xbox is going to be releasing around the Holiday’s of 2010, called Xbox Project Natal.
What is Xbox Project Natal?
Basically, Xbox Project Natal seems to be an updated and enhanced version of the Nintendo Wii, requiring no controllers whatsoever.
Instead of explaining myself, here is the video I will be analyzing:
Marketing Analysis Overview
Even though Project Natal is still in the works, Xbox is taking some steps in creating buzz around their future landmark gaming product. Here are a few things I took away from Microsoft’s marketing for Xbox Project Natal:
- They created buzz with a video on YouTube, soon to reach 1 million viewers.
- It is longer than a traditional advertisement, but still within the time limits to keep viewers attracted
- They encompass how this new Xbox feature will attract fun for the whole family
- Microsoft’s Xbox Project Natal expands their reach on its YouTube channel, which contains many more Project Natal videos
- Microsoft takes the reach from Xbox Project Natal’s viral video and expands it through the description of the video, where they point viewers to “Join the conversation on Twitter – tell us what you think! #xboxe3.”
Many companies know the power of creating buzz of a product before it is released, resulting in urges across the world to accumulate things people do not need. Seth Godin is a buzz master, at one point taking over the world.
The pre-launch buzz bug has even bitten me quite a few timesâ€¦Thinking ““who would want or need that?” only to find myself on Amazon or someplace purchasing that product after so much buzz about it. Especially buzz that has been created through social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and even the new Google Buzz.
The main message I take from this specific video about Xbox Project Natal is that it will be a device that the whole family can gather around and have fun with.
Natal usually refers to a Portuguese word meaning Christmas, signifying the expected release of Project Natal. Seeing as online jargon of internet company names today does not really mean anything (since most of the .com domain names in the world are taken up) or until they become verbs, Natal seems to fit in with that crowd.
The video mainly represents a white “all-American” family in what seems to be a middle-to-upper-class setup. Representing those slim, fit, and attractive nuclear families can have fun playing video games.
The video is shot in a rather open and spacious family room with a home theatre system, flat-screen TV, some artwork and other assorts stuff white people might like.
Long gone are the days of sitting around a boring Scrabble board that your children and teens do not care about. Generation Y and those that come after are deeply engaged in technology. The Xbox Project Natal brings technology and family to the forefront in an attempt to bring back the traditional family “game night.”
Microsoft, being the suit wearing company that it is portrayed is, tries to be racially diverse; a black family is shown playing some sort of game around the 3 minute mark.
Microsoft even throws in Chuck Norris reference around the 3:05 mark (“How many pushups can Chuck Norris do?”).
The YouTube Xbox Project Natal video shows a wide range of uses for its new gaming device. From the whole family sitting around a daughter who is simulating driving a race car to the father getting up and simulating a pit stop, from the whole family to mother-daughter to single boy. Fun for the whole family!
It shows just about every scenario this device can bring the family closer.
- Introducing a new way to play video games: No Controllers.
- “The only experience you need is life experience” is the motto shown at the end of the video telling us how this device is bringing the Xbox experience to your life experiences.
- Finally, the advertisement leaves us with a glimpse of what Xbox Project Natal might look like, leaving the viewer a desire to look for more information:
What Project Natal could mean for Gen Y Marketers
There was essentially one main section that caught my eye using an in-game social technology around the 2:15 mark.
It features two friends (of course one is white and one is black), connecting using video technology.
The friend on the screen asked “so did you get a dress for the party yet?” and the other says “no.” This leads into an interesting opportunity for retailers looking to market to Generation Y using Project Natal.
The Opportunity for Gen Y Marketers
Around the 2:30 mark, the friend on the screen goes on to show a few dresses she “found” for herâ€¦It even allows you to show the dress might look like on you, providing an excellent interactive and in-house shopping experience.
Surely retail brands should be salivating at the opportunities to stake a claim in this piece of interactive retail and in-house shopping experience. The problem is, companies do not want to go down the same path as many did in Second Life, spending countless money on online-virtual stores with minimal returns.
However, Project Natal seems to be much more interactive and fun than Second Life ever was and is. It could be similar to what Lenovo is doing with their Lenovo virtual showroom.
The question I ask is: What about interactive and in-house shopping experience brand stores through Project Natal? For example, will you be able to enter an interactive mall and enter into a virtual Lacoste store, where you could shop and try on outfits similar to what is shown in the video?
Microsoft could sell “interactive virtual retail space,” and retail brands could buy the “interactive virtual retail space.”
To make it “social” and more interactive, you could connect with your friends and go shopping together.
Getting into the hearts of Generation Y.
Let me know what you think.
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