May 14, 2005

Live Aware = Viral Marketing

You know, the marketing machine at Microsoft is a force to be reckoned with, but Xbox Live is something that even Robert Scoble has to be proud of...even if it doesn't have an RSS feed.

For the last couple of years, more and more Xbox single-player games have been becoming Xbox Live! Aware. What that means is that even if you are playing a single player game, you can still receive multiplayer game invites and the like while you are playing your single player games. You can also associate your GamerTag with your Microsoft Passport to unlock web functionality for your title, such as the added stats stuff for Halo 2. So what are the marketing benefits of this? Simple. You get immediate viral marketing on any Xbox Live or Live Aware title.

Someone is playing 'Halo 2'"Huh?" you may ask. Well, when I'm at my computer, I am one click away from seeing if one of my Xbox friends pops in a copy of a Xbox Live/Live Aware game. For example, one of my friend's is playing "Halo 2" right now while I'm at work on a milestone crunch. (Bastard.) I also get MSN Alerts whenever one of my friend's start playing. I also see what games they are playing in my Friends list on the Xbox, and with the Xbox 360, I'll have access to that information in every single game, online or single player.

So what does that mean? Well, I'll be playing "Quake IV" on my Xbox 360, and I'll get a little alert in the corner showing that one of my friend's is online. I'll pop it in, and see he's playing "Eggplant Farmer VIII: The Fertilizing," and immediately know that a) my friend has strange taste in video games, and b) that the game is available. As more of my friend's pop in their latest copy of "Eggplant Farmer VIII," I'm going to get curious about this game. Is eggplant farming really the rage nowadays? At that point, I'm very likely to go out and pick up a copy of "Eggplant Farmer VIII" because my friend's have picked it up.

Think of it as word of mouth without any action required by the people who are making the inadvertant recommendation.

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