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Unless you’ve been living in a Buddhist Temple in the mountains of Tibet for the past few months you will be well aware that the Xbox 360 launches in the UK today. Although there has been a massive amount of coverage and speculation in the technology press regarding the X360 – quite a lot of it on TrustedReviews in fact – the actual general marketing has been slightly subdued. OK, so you may have seen the odd advert on TV over the past couple of weeks, but there hasn’t been what I’d called a major marketing push. Perhaps Microsoft is waiting for Christmas to spend the marketing Dollars, or perhaps the big MS knows that pretty much every X360 is going to sell on launch day whether it advertises it or not!
If you read my Generation Next editorial a couple of weeks ago you’ll know that I have a strong, if not obsessive history with gaming consoles, having owned just about every machine to have seen the light of day. However, as I concluded in that article, this doesn’t mean that I’m not excited by the launch of the Xbox 360, or that I won’t continue to be excited by each and every next generation console launch.
When Microsoft launched the original Xbox at the end of 2001 I flew to New York to pick up a console, because the UK release date was several months after the US launch. Thankfully this time Microsoft hasn’t made us Brits wait too long to get our hands on the goodies – a wait of a couple of weeks is bearable, and definitely doesn’t warrant a trans-Atlantic crossing.
Of course when the original Xbox appeared, the PlayStation 2 already had a very strong hold on the market, and if there’s one thing that I’ve realised about PlayStation users, it’s that they’re brand loyal to the point of fanaticism – much like many Nintendo fans. This situation made it difficult for the Xbox, despite offering superior hardware specifications – OK so it was a stripped down PC, but that doesn’t change the fact that it had better graphics and audio than any of the competing products. Of course there were many gamers like myself who wanted to own a PlayStation2, Xbox and even a GameCube, but most casual gamers tend to have a single console, and many of them already owned a PS2.