Microsoft recently started recruiting women to throw Xbox soirees as part of a branding effort to get women to start playing the Xbox, according to the Gannett news service.
They got an Xbox party pack of freebies that included microwaveable popcorn, Xbox trivia game "Scene It? Box Office Smash," an Xbox universal media remote control, a three-month subscription to Xbox Live, and 1,600 Xbox Live points (used for game, movie and TV show purchases).
I do think this is a great marketing strategy but as with all Microsoft marketing efforts it feels a bit off. Women have proven to be huge consumers of casual games, and heavily interested in the Wii (Nintendo has been advertising heavily to the ladies for quite a while) but the Xbox feels like a stretch. And, there aren't a ton of Xbox games that are appealing to women--at least not from my informal survey (I asked my wife and a woman in the hotel lobby.)
"We've sold 20 million consoles to date globally since we launched three years ago," says Heather Snavely, Microsoft's director of interactive entertainment business global platforms. "In order to get to the next 20 million, we need to get a new audience of women and teens. We're going after them in ways that are different than ways we've done before."
Good for Microsoft on this attempt and good for the women who want get involved with playing video games.
Of course, the main thing that comes to mind for me with this program is a free episode I downloaded of The Real Housewives of Orange County, where all the snake-skinned ladies got together for a cocktail and lingerie party. Somehow, I just can't see that crew getting together for a rousing game of Fallout 3 or Grand Theft Auto. Maybe if there was a Botox game or something where you drink until you irreparably insult your husband and isolate your children? (Zing!)