Xbox Goes Live15 Nov, 2002 By: Hive News
Microsoft Corp. today launched its Xbox Live Starter Kit, talking the console platform to the online game arena.
Once at home, players will be able to come together online on Xbox Live to connect, play and talk with each other during their game sessions and join thousands of beta testers already playing nine launch titles.
"The online arena is officially open, and the days of sitting alone silently playing video games in the living room are over," said J Allard, GM of Xbox at Microsoft. "We're thrilled to be bringing the next step in social entertainment and community to console gaming. This is uncharted territory for most players, and we can't wait to see friends connect and have rivals duke it out to become the superstars and heroes of Xbox Live."
The Xbox Live kit lets players connect with each other online, no matter where they are or what time of day it is. With a lineup of sports, action, racing, first-person shooters and role-playing games set to roll out in the coming months, Xbox players will be able to test themselves against a variety of opponents on a unified service.
Today, more than 10,000 U.S. and Canadian retail outlets began selling the Xbox Live Starter Kit ($49.99 MAP. For the average price of a new game, the kit includes a one-year subscription to Xbox Live, the Xbox Communicator headset, and online trial versions of THQ Inc.'s MotoGP and Whacked! from Microsoft Game Studios to start the momentum. All Xbox units come with a built-in Ethernet port and hard drive, enabling any Xbox owner to plug into Xbox Live through almost any high-speed Internet service provider.
A multimillion-dollar marketing campaign for the kit will include advertising, retail communications and promotional activities.
"There's a tremendous amount of anticipation around online gaming this holiday," said Peter Roithmayr, VP of merchandising at EB Games. "Our presales indicate that gamers can't wait to get connected to Xbox Live. We're on track to sell our entire allocation on day one."
Nine Xbox Live-enabled games are already on retail shelves and up to five more are scheduled to be available at retail by the end of the holiday season.