LONDON: Microsoft has hired a head of European communications for the upcoming dollars 500 million launch of its Xbox gaming console.
LONDON: Microsoft has hired a head of European communications for
the upcoming dollars 500 million launch of its Xbox gaming console.
Computer game PR expert Paul Fox joins Microsoft from game publisher
Infogrames, where he was the company’s UK financial and corporate
communications manager. Before that, the 28-year-old worked for Eidos on
the launch of Tomb Raider, which features cyberbabe Lara Croft.
Budgets and fees have not yet been set for the European campaign.
However, in a series of analyst briefings last week, it was revealed
that Microsoft was putting more than dollars 500 million behind the
worldwide launch of Xbox, making it the company’s most costly product
launch - including Windows 2000.
Although the console isn’t due out until fall 2001, there are already
numerous web sites dedicated to it. Xbox is being positioned as a rival
to Sony’s PlayStation 2, due out in November, and a Nintendo console
codenamed Dolphin, still in development.
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 launch. Fox said he would appoint three regional PR managers, based
in the UK, France and Germany, and hire local agencies, as well as one
central agency. He said he expects to make the appointments within the
next two months.
Fox said he is 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.’
The agencies will work on consumer PR, with trade media and specialist
gaming press targeted in-house.
In a press release, Microsoft said it is not concerned with its status
as a newcomer to the gaming console industry. The company said it
recognizes that ’the video game business is all about the games. From
Atari to Nintendo to Sega to PlayStation, it has historically been shown
again and again that gamers are loyal to the games.’