2009 was not a good year for Microsoft and the Xbox 360. In fact, it's been their worst since the console came on the scene in 2005, but there's one thing we know about the software giant, they never go out without a fight. And if the reports of Microsoft giving Natal a launch like a major console, and the plans to release some of their games like they were Hollywood blockbusters are true, there's only one conclusion any sensible person would have; and it's that in 2010, Microsoft is prepared to fight. They plan to give Sony and Nintendo hell with a new "shock n awe" campaign that will be the biggest the industry has seen. We'll show you some of the signs.
Shock n Awe No. 1 -Natal Will receive the 'console launch' treatment: Microsoft is not kidding around with their new Motion technology dubbed Project Natal. In earnest, the software giant is looking to change the industry with their new peripheral. And the only way to do that is by spending major bucks and a lot of R&D plus over-the-top hype. Here's Microsoft's Phil Spencer:
"When Natal comes out it will feel like a new generation has arrived," he said. "I see it as like when we launched the Xbox 360 back in 2005 - there will be a launch portfolio of games to support it."
Spencer is not the only Microsoft exec talking up the new toy, in fact Shane Kim said the same thing earlier:
"Conceptually, the launch of Natal will be like the launch of Xbox 360, Kim said. "We're not just going to shift it when the hardware and software is ready."
You can expect MS to takeover TV stations, gaming websites, magazines and all other forms of media in what many expect will be total shock n awe advertising campaign, and it has already begun.
General Manager of Xbox Live Marc Whitten recentlysaid he expects Natal to "be the largest leap TV experience since the remote control." Whitten also believes that Project Natal will replace the remote controller.
Shock n Awe No. 2 -Exclusive games will be get Hollywood blockbuster movie release budget: There are many exclusives coming to the PS3 in 2010, but not to be outdone, Xbox 360 has some big hitters of its own. Amongst the best of the best you'll find Splinter Cell: Conviction, Mass Effect 2, Halo Reach, Crackdown 2, Fable III and Alan Wake are just some of the bigger names.
Microsoft wants these titles to sell extremely well, but also, they plan on creating the impression that their games are the biggest in the industry, hence the planned Hollywood blockbuster release treatment.
One example is Alan Wake. A source inside Microsoft revealed to MCV that Alan Wake will be released in May of 2010 worldwide, and the giant plan on having a release budget so big, it'll rival that of any Hollywood blockbuster movie.
Microsoft is an experienced company, they've been in the game for a long time now, and they can see that Sony got its swagger back. If the Redmond Company let up now, Sony might just steal this the seventh generation from underneath it altogether. So a plan, a concept, a strategy even must be forged; and it has.
Shock n Awe is the plan. Question is, will your jaw drop, or will it remain shut?
You be the judge.
11/30/09 Ernice Gilbert