In an interesting twist on interactive agency projects, AKQA designed not only the new website for the upcoming Xbox 360 console but the system's game interface-the graphics and operating systems that viewers see when they're not playing a game. Since the console doubles as an entertainment hub for music, DVDs and online play, the interface is an important key to accessing all of the machine's features. Unveiled at the E3 gaming conference last month, the system's interface was created by a team of AKQA and Microsoft specialists who based their design decisions on 16 months of research with gamers. "This is a significant milestone for AKQA-to leap from creating rich media and immersive brand experiences online to developing the user experience for the Xbox 360," says CEO Tom Bedecarre. "We're not just marketing a product but designing the product itself." According to AQKA, the new Xbox interface will feature an Xbox Dashboard and Xbox Guide, which the company claims will make the system intuitive (the new console won't be available till the holiday season).
But beyond that, the official site-xbox360.com, which launched last month-is a work of interactive marketing itself, compelling users to team up to get to the "core" of the site where the most interesting information is found. Composed of floating elements in a white 3-D space, the site is an exercise in techno-simplicity.