It was an over the top moment, even for Oprah Winfrey, who is known for delighting her audiences with surprise gifts. Oprah has given away everything from cars to vacations but she drove her audience into a frenzy when she announced that they would receive a new Kinect for Xbox 360. Today, Kinect made another star turn, on the Ellen de Generes show. And once again, as the saying goes, the crowd went wild.
It’s worth noting that the audience for both Oprah and Ellen are predominately female, and older than what many perceive to be the typical gamer. And yet, once they witnessed what Kinect can do, they were as pumped as any teenager. As Kinect delivers an irresistible, highly engaging genre of interactive entertainment , it also promises to deliver an even broader consumer audience to advertisers.
Incidentally, advertisers have shown their excitement for Kinect in another way, by buying up the first six months of advertising inventory even before the new console has shipped. The first wave of Kinect advertisers includes marquee brands such as Chevrolet, Disney’s TRON: Legacy, Samsung, Sprint and T-Mobile.
This advertiser enthusiasm for Kinect, and Xbox in general, confirms that the console battle has moved from an isolated screen in the basement to the biggest HD screen in the living room. What’s more, the content being consumed on Xbox and Xbox LIVE has expanded beyond hard core gaming, and now includes over 30,000 hours of entertainment media and a full complement of social networking features.
When I talk to advertisers about where TV is headed and how Xbox LIVE delivers entertainment into the living room, the new frontiers of Kinect advertising inevitably come up. While I am unlikely to generate the same level of frenzied enthusiasm with advertising professionals that Oprah has with her audience, I am seeing a new kind of excitement from our clients.
They sense that Kinect is a game changer not only for consumers, but for consumer brands. I’m thrilled that so many of these brands have jumped in with Kinect-mania—especially when you consider that I didn’t have to give away a car to get them there.
Microsoft’s GM for Advertising in our Entertainment & Devices Division