New Xbox Game Spots Unveiled

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NEW YORK ( -- Shooting, karate-kicking and head-butting the enemy never looked so good, at least based on Microsoft Corp.'s new ad campaign touting the games for its much-ballyhooed Xbox video-game console.

Microsoft, which began unleashing Xbox buzz over the airwaves

Dead or Alive: 'She kicks high.'
Nov. 4 with six 15-second teaser commercials, debuts yet another round of spots Nov. 11. The new group of spots, part of an offbeat mega-campaign created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, touts the $299 system's games.

The new ads will try to show gamers why they should try their hands at incredibly lifelike games that deliver razor-sharp 3-D graphics and crystal-clear sound.

The long-awaited debut of the software giant's foray into console gaming comes just three days before the Nov. 18 launch of the $199 GameCube, a new console from gaming veteran Nintendo Corp. Both systems, along with category leader Sony Computer Entertainment's $299 PlayStation 2, now entering its second sales year, promise to give holiday 2001 a much-needed shot in the arm.

Targeting North America
Microsoft pledged $500 million in global marketing funds

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for the Xbox; some $200 million of the pot supports the launch in North America, considered a make-or-break gaming market.

Microsoft said it will deliver 20 games during the launch period for Xbox across multiple genres including action/adventure/combat, racing, extreme sports and sports. Five of the 20 titles receive star treatment in the campaign.

The campaign puts games' style and substance front and center. In "Rationale," the 30-second spot for Microsoft's "Dead or Alive 3," two young guys zone in on two scantily clad, busty sex kittens who karate-kick one another a la Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The commercial, a take-off on why guys "read" Playboy, one youth says to the other, "I only play it for the

Project Gotham Racing: 'Power slide or play it safe?'
fighting ... why else would I play it?" His friend chimes in, "She kicks high."

Foreboding combat game
"Halo," a dark and foreboding combat game, is featured in "Last Best Hope." The spot, presented in the style of a movie trailer, invites viewers into sweeping, panoramic worlds of monsters taking down the enemy. A bold, theatrical voice-over says: "Outnumbered, overpowered, cornered. ... That's when you realize the last best hope is you. ... Halo combat evolved."

As with each commericial, a movie-style rating appears. "Halo," for example, is rated "M" for mature.

"Peyton to Marvin," touts "NFL Fever 2002," Microsoft's answer to the popular "Madden" National Football League series of games by Electronic Arts. For "Project Gotham Racing," a grand prix racing game, the spot "A Thousand Decisions" features a sultry female voice over talking about all the decisions on racing style a gamer can make.

Amped: daredevils of the snowboarding slopes.
The spot is reminiscent of luxury car commercials and is likely to draw women to the game.

Extreme sports, one the fastest growing gaming genres, gets a lift with Microsoft's "Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding." The spot plays with insiderish snowboarder slang: "Dag, you know your mountain."

The print ad reveals more than the spot about the snowboarder's world. For example, the pocket phrase translator with the print campaign explains "Dag" is freestyle snowboarding lingo for "That was a nice trick," but then again, the word also can be taken to mean "I like your pants."

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