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Xbox 360 game marketing gone wild

It seems that someone behind the promotion of the Microsoft game "Perfect Dark Zero" has gone and made the kind of silly marketing mistake that drives some advertising critics nuts.

Over the weekend, editors at the video game blog "Joystiq" reported that they received a series of crudely written e-mails. Each one, purporting to be from a different writer, alerted them to the fact that Xbox 360 kiosks--which play demos of games and show off the next-generation Microsoft console's multimedia capabilities--at Wal-Mart stores would soon be featuring a playable demo of "Perfect Dark Zero."

For example, writes Joystiq editor Vladimir Cole, PootAmbassador penned a missive that went, "A sales associate at Wal-mart said they get a playable demo of Perfect dark 0. Has anyone else told you or am i the only one who knows?"

Another, Monkeymoon55 wrote, "I asked the walmart peeps if new demos are coming. He said that they get one with Perfect Dark, hexsics, and some new movies."

And Buttonbasher came with, "Did you hear that Wal-mart gets another demo disc this week? it will have Amped 3, PDZ (Perfect Dark Zero), and a couple others. Check my blog for the story."

Well, any editor or reporter worth his or her salt generally loves to get tips like this from readers (hint, hint). But in this case, there was something slightly wrong.

Cole wrote that the Joystiq folks did a little digging and discovered that lo and behold, while each of these messages had come from a different e-mail address, they all tracked back to a single IP address.

Now, Cole doesn't speculate on who the offending party is, but he does note that outing him or her, while gratifying, will only help the bad guys in the future.

"The unfortunate thing about this is that we'll only be able to bust these guys once," Cole wrote. "Then they'll learn to spoof their IP addresses prior to spamming sites like Joystiq with buzz marketing campaigns."