The Xbox One goes on sale in North America at midnight Eastern time tonight, and the New York launch in Times Square will be broadcast live on Spike TV. That’s just two hours, 48 minutes, and 47 seconds away, as I write this. I know that because Microsoft has a countdown running for its launch events.
The launch events mark the beginning of a new Xbox One economy. Microsoft sold more than 80 million Xbox 360 systems and generated billions of dollars in sales for Microsoft — and billions more for third-party video game publishers, making video games one of the most important and lucrative industries in the world.
With this launch, Microsoft completes the next-gen rollout of video games, the biggest sector in entertainment today. Millions of people will buy the new console today (or already have at midnight launch events).
Does it remind you of anything? Well, Spike TV also got the exclusive on the Sony PlayStation 4 launch last week. Twitch also livestreamed the Sony event last week but it is not doing so this time. You can go back and look at the Sony broadcast to see who had the better launch event.
Microsoft’s will no doubt be louder, as its New York event will feature an exclusive VIP concert with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for the first 1,000 buyers. The first 2,000 to buy an Xbox one will get giveaways that include Powerstar Golf, LocoCycle, and a six-month Xbox Live Gold membership. Celebrities like Larry Hryb, aka Major Nelson, and Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley will help usher in what Microsoft is calling a new era.
The event will be broadcast starting at 8 p.m. Pacific/11 p.m. Eastern on Spike TV. It will also be available on Xbox.com and Xbox Live. Check your local listing for the Spike TV broadcast. In Times Square, zombies, Roman soldiers, and supercars are converging on the Best Buy Theater, where fans are lining up. Microsoft says it will have a couple of thousand systems on hand for those who show up.
In Los Angeles, Microsoft will also hold an official launch event at Milk Studios. There, the first 500 to buy an Xbox One on-site will get an exclusive VIP concert with deadmau5 and 7Wallace.
Of course, if you’re in New Zealand, Australia, or Europe, you’ve already gone shopping. Select locations will hold Killer Instinct tournaments during the launch.
Here’s Microsoft’s best pitch, explaining why you need to spend $500 on a video game console.