Microsoft Gets in on Nintendo's Soccer Mom Action

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Gets in on Nintendo's Soccer Mom Action

Taking a page from Nintendo's book, Microsoft recently had soccer moms and trend-setters across the country host Xbox 360 parties for their friends in hopes of drumming up a bit more business.


About 1,000 women across the country were given a $150 pack of Xbox goodies in exchange for hosting an Xbox 360 party for at least 10 friends or relatives in their homes.

"We've sold 20 million consoles to date globally since we launched three years ago," says Heather Snavely, Microsoft's director of interactive entertainment business global platforms. "In order to get to the next 20 million, we need to get a new audience of women and teens. We're going after them in ways that are different than ways we've done before."

The Xbox event hosts used their own Xbox 360 consoles to demonstrate the new services, which also require broadband Internet service and subscriptions to Netflix and Xbox Live, a service that offers social-networking activities and game play with friends in other cities.

They got an Xbox party pack of freebies that included microwaveable popcorn, Xbox trivia game Scene It? Box Office Smash, an Xbox universal media remote control, a three-month subscription to Xbox Live, and 1,600 Xbox Live points (used for game, movie and TV show purchases).

Xbox used a service called House Party to find the hosts for their party. The service sets up home parties for marketers by tapping into a database of 100,000 profiles.


In August, Nintendo hosted a number of private parties for trend setters across the country to help build Wii buzz.

Ad Track: Microsoft wants you to throw a party for its Xbox


I have a serious problem with this. If the casual market buys into this and starts buying 360s, we "true" gamers become the niche (there are more of them than us). Look at the Wii if you don't know what I mean. How many Nintendo games are actually designed to appeal to the "gamer" as opposed to the "grandpa", "mom", "dad" or "5 year old"?

The business will go where the money is and I think it's ridiculous to assume that just because the "gamer" put the XBOX (or any other console) on the map doesn't mean that Microsoft (or anyone else) has any real loyalty to us. If the casual market really takes off and that's where they are really making the money, that's where the focus is going to be.

I wish there were a hardware company with sole interest in the "gamer", but alas, there is naught.