UPDATE/SPOILER ALERT: It was a zombie street party. More here.
Xboxers of Canada, the mothership has landed and it needs your help to open.
Microsoft Canada is about to begin a homegrown publicity campaign for the upcoming launch of the next generation gaming console, Xbox One (in stores Nov. 22), which will be built around the participation of the legion of Xbox fans. In return, a bunch of digital and physical goodies are being handed out to the "Xbox community."
At noon ET, Microsoft will reveal a gigantic 40-foot-long replica of the new console it has dropped down in Vancouver in a parking lot at 1001 Seymour Street (at the corner of Nelson and Seymour near Yaletown) and gamers will be invited to help open its doors. There are a variety of ways to do that, but they all involve a sort of crowdsourcing where players input their Xbox Gamertag online as a way of "voting" for the big box to open.
UPDATE: As of Thursday morning, the status bar on the promotion had reached about 60 per cent "done."
This is a Canada-only campaign (anyone can send a Gamertag, but only Canadians can win prizes), and when the hatch opens, all we are being told is that there will be an "experience" inside (but seriously, it would be insane to do this if they had no games in there, and Microsoft is not insane). Craig Flannagan, Director of Marketing, Xbox, Microsoft Canada is coy about exactly which titles might lurk inside that massive black box. Also, he won't get specific about what will make the opening "pretty incredible and immersive in some ways." What he does know is that it's the biggest launch, in terms of money spent and scale of the promotion, Microsoft has ever done in Canada. "This is far and away the biggest, maybe the biggest thing done in Canada for [the games] industry." (You can see a short "making of" promo video here.)
So, how do you help crack open this mega box? Either boot up your Xbox 360 (the Xbox Source tile should have appeared on the start screen), log in to Xbox.ca or show up in person in Vancouver (Update: the pledge feature is now live, here, you have to give your e-mail too). Once you pledge your tag, you can follow the status bar on Xbox.ca/onesource or on your 360. You can also follow the #XboxOneSource hash tag on Twitter, and Xbox Canada's Facebook page will have details too.
If you don't remember your Gamertag off by heart, you can find it by logging in on line (its found under My Profile, and it's also on the top corner of your Xbox 360 home screen). You don't have to be one of the 40 million-plus global members of Xbox Live to pledge the Gamertag, which also enters you to win some cool prizes (any eligible entry gets some kind of reward, says Flannagan).
When you right it all down, it seems a little exhausting, but if you're a mega-fan of Xbox it should all be worth it. We'll keep you updated with photos and details of what happens next, apparently its going to be ... interesting.
Xbox already completed a roadshow tour of the hardware that hit several Canadian cities in October. For its part, thus far Xbox rival Sony has announced pop-up stores so gamers can get their paws on the PlayStation 4 in Montreal, Toronto (Scarborough) and Calgary, starting November 1. The games on display will include Killzone: Shadow Fall, Assassins Creed Black Flag, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Super Motherload, Contrast, Awesomenauts, Trine 2 and Knack.