'Would you like an Xbox with that?'
Japanese gamers finally bite.
Microsoft still can't convince the Japanese to buy Xbox, with this week's share of the hardware market (0.87 per cent) not that much of an improvement on any previous figure (the week ended August 11th 2003, for example - 1.02 per cent). However, in one of what must by now have become its regular all-night marketing meetings, some bright spark came up with a new regional promotion aimed at "boosting awareness" in the ailing console, and what better way to put the message (and the console) out amongst the geeky herd than by sponsoring a pizza delivery company?
That's right. Between now and February 27th, customers at Aoki's Pizza can pick from a limited "Xbox campaign set" menu. Pizzas are split into four parts from the middle to mark an "X" in the centre, and customers are encouraged to choose a different set topping for each quarter. (For example: egg and tuna, or chicken teriyaki and mayonnaise, which culinary enthusiasts GameSpot inform us are fairly conventional Japanese toppings.) Hungry Japanese types also have the option of entering a sweepstakes to win an Xbox and a copy of Amped 2 when they pick from the Xbox campaign set.
Better yet, when the poor old pizza delivery bloke turns up at the door, he'll be lugging not the usual flat creased box with barely contained grease splattered all over it, but custom cardboard packaging coloured and shaped... like an Xbox console.
Yes. Like an Xbox console, Microsoft. Like one.