Microsoft has hired a head of European communications for the
upcoming pounds 330 million launch of its Xbox gaming console.
Computer game PR expert Paul Fox joins from games publisher Infogrames,
where he was UK financial and corporate communications manager.
Reporting to Julie Armitage, European marketing director of Microsoft’s
home and retail division, Fox is set to hire both staff and agencies for
The console is due out in the autumn of 2001. It is being positioned as
a rival to Sony’s PlayStation 2, due out in November, and a Nintendo
console codenamed Dolphin, still in development.
Fox will appoint three regional PR managers, based in the UK, France and
He said there would be local agencies hired, plus one central agency,
and he is keen to make the appointments within two months.
The agencies will work on consumer PR, with trade media and specialist
gaming press targeted in-house.
Fox said he was looking for a ’mainstream’ agency. ’We want renegade,
left-field ideas, but also a bit of structure,’ he said. ’While it is a
gaming launch, we can’t get away from the fact we’re Microsoft - we need
certain systems and structures.’
Budgets and fees have not yet been set for the European PR campaign, but
last week, in a series of analyst briefings, it was revealed that
Microsoft was putting over pounds 330 million behind the worldwide
launch of Xbox. This makes it the biggest ever launch undertaken by
Microsoft - exceeding even the launch of Windows 2000.
Fox, just 28-years-old, has extensive experience in the gaming
Prior to joining Infogrames, he worked for Eidos on the launch of Tomb
Raider, the game which first thrust cyberbabe Lara Croft on the
Despite the fact the launch of Xbox is well over 12 months away, there
are already numerous web sites dedicated to the subject.
- Microsoft has announced the outcome of its two-month-long agency
review (PR Week, 23 June). Edelman PR Worldwide and Westminster Strategy
will begin work next month on the corporate PR and public affairs briefs
August.One Communications handled both previously. Its role as
Microsoft’s consumer and technology agency, and the work of the Red
Consultancy on consumer PR, is unaffected by the review.