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Xbox 360 Lounge in Aoyama: shiny, white

We walked past this a couple of nights ago, on our way from Las Chicas up to Office in Gaienmae: the Xbox 360 Lounge in Aoyama. It's on the west side of Aoyama-dori, right where the Kinokuniya supermarket used to be, I think - just opposite the Max Mara building and Kotto-dori.

It's all wrapped in white, with conspicuous Xbox logos and according to the press release will open at the beginning of November, featuring "Touch and Try" Xbox stations - though it doesn't say how many - and a 70-seat cafe.

As Kotaku notes, it is in a "fashionable neighbourhood", but at the same time, it's a little out of the way... certainly when compared with Apple's Ginza and Shibuya stores, for example. Also worth noting is that the site has played host to a succession of temporary structures over the last couple of years, and this one is perhaps no different - destined to be torn down a month or so after launch.

So it's not some permanent sales location in the heart of, say, Shibuya or Akihabara. But still, this is obviously a sign of a strong marketing offensive from Microsoft, who are clearly determined that the second Xbox won't tank in Japan like the first one did. By targeting the kind of people who are likely to be strolling along Aoyama-dori, they're presumably hoping to push the "digital entertainment hub" message to non-gamers. (The press release specifically mentions that there will be a) gaming stations, yes, but also b) a "digital lifestyle lounge".)

However, I can't help but think that more and better games would be a far tastier selling point than a War of the Worlds DVD tie-up (which is what they're actually pushing). In Japan, after all, surely gamers outnumber people looking for a DVD-and-hard-drive-based home entertainment center that isn't made by Sony, Panasonic, NEC or a host of other Japanese home electronics firms whose products they already know and trust? Don't you think?

[link via Kotaku]

Posted by chris at October 10, 2005 04:17 PM | Permalink


The revolution seems to be the only console doing anything different from the current crop. Microsoft and Sony are talking smack about polygon rate and processing power whereas Nintendo are talking purely in terms of accessibility and fun.

I appreciate in order to do this they designed the controller like a TV remote but therein lies there genius.

A play station controller is an intimidating object to a non-gamer full of triggers and coloured buttons and it looks kinda weird. A remote is non threatening, it will sit with your DVD and TV controllers without screaming "I PLAY GAMES!" to any person that comes into your living room.

I have a gamecube and its the first thing that gets used when I have friends around. Nintendo knows fun and it also knows that just pushing pretty graphics won't cut it anymore.

Posted by: Rob at October 13, 2005 12:29 AM

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