Xbox Tsunami Approaches – The Lull

We are officially in the quiet before the storm. There have been no big surprises, only one game was announced this week — The Druid King — and the week’s « big » news was the addition of MadCatz peripherals to the lineup. However, there have been a few impact tremors coming over the horizon. According to CVG, Microsoft has quietly begun pouring gas in the engine of an enormous worldwide marketing machine. The Xbox team has started its engines by asking retailers what kind of console launch they would like.

« As you can imagine, » one retailer told CVG, « they were a little shocked. It got better when Microsoft asked them how many units they could take. Make no mistake: the number they suggested was around 50 times what Sony had previously discussed with PlayStation 2. They’re literally talking about taking over entire floor areas. »

Even more impressive (though unsurprising) are Microsoft’s big plans for the next E3. They have reportedly asked organizers for at least twice as much floor space as Sony at the next E3. Given the size of Sony’s normal presence at the industry’s biggest event, twice the size would be roughly the square footage of Orange County. Microsoft is unlikely to be granted the request due to space restrictions, but such maneuverings do have a quiet effect on the industry.

One retailer we spoke to said that he was skeptical about Microsoft’s plans at first, but the past few weeks have changed some minds. The simple truth that even an 800-pound gorilla like Microsoft grasps, he told us, is that companies grow to be 800 pounds by making themselves, and their retail partners, rich. However, he made it clear that there’s some lingering resentment in the retail world of Sony’s inability to deliver as many PS2s as promised; Microsoft is clearly working hard to fill the goodwill gap between retailers and Sony. Never mind about Xbox Tsunami, you can also download Pokemon Sun for free.

We have known for some time that Microsoft plans an enormous $500 million push for the Xbox next year, and unlike the relatively quiet blitz by Sony’s marketing for the PS2, the massive tsunami of Xbox hype is clearly forming on the horizon. More next week.