UNIT9

London

(Microsoft) Xbox: Power Your Dreams

CHALLENGE

We were tasked with launching the new Xbox Series X in the UK, demonstrating the power and speed of the new console while celebrating Xbox’s devoted, competitive and smart community of players. 

New console launches are synonymous with long queues at retailers and as opportunities for consumers to get hands on with the new product. In a time when we weren’t able to physically bring the Xbox community together, we knew this could not be just another standard product launch. So we pivoted, creatively and executionally, and instead drove an emotional connection with our virtual fans through real-time interactions. We allowed fans to affect and contribute to the launch content, live, win access to hidden content, and gave the community a platform to reminisce on the past and look ahead to what this new launch would behold.

The entire activation, including the custom hero animation, was delivered on a very short six-week timeline. The London activation was part of Microsoft's integrated global ‘Power Your Dreams’ campaign, but the London launch became the only market execution to be celebrated on the Global Xbox YouTube channel, as it pioneered world-first technology and enabled community interaction like no other launch had done before.

IDEA

For the launch of the world’s most powerful console, we built a physical monolithic structure, inspired by the Xbox Series X console itself, that came to life with world-first real-time graphical overlays during an interactive six-hour livestream. 

The event was held on Tuesday 10th November 2020. The monolith was built and live-streamed from a rooftop in central London. Because the event was virtual and hosted live on the Twitch channel ‘Xbox On’, it was open to a global audience who could also interact with the content via Twitch, no logins or tickets required, just a time and a ‘place’.

EXECUTION 

For the launch activation, we worked with UNIT9’s multidisciplinary Experiential, Film & Motion Director, Sean Pruen, to conceptualise and create the launch activation. The 3.6m console-inspired monolith was built on a stunning rooftop location in central London. The structure was front and centre during the six-hour broadcast counting down to the console’s release, livestreamed on the Xbox UK Twitch channel – Xbox On.

During the livestream, the monolith came to life with incredible 3D animation, optical illusions, real-time holograms, and an immersive Dolby 3D soundtrack. We created pre-rendered, optically correct projection-mapped animations for multiple camera angles. In addition, we projected content into the air to create volumetric light beams that were virtually mapped in real-time with the same content overlaid. The structure also served as a platform for social interaction and content contribution. People could influence the monolith in real-time with a chance to win a Series X and see their name in holographic glory.

During the livestream we hosted audience interaction segments including;

  • Speed: A Twitter-feed scroll challenge that measured how quickly fans could scroll to reshare the first challenge tweet. 
  • Power: Fans collectively spammed the monolith with Twitch emotes, the winning teams with the most popular emote were put into a prize draw. 
  • Legacy: Quiz-style games for dedicated fans to challenge themselves on the history of Xbox and its most iconic games. 
  • Fame - A virtual hall of fame created for the highest scorers in the Xbox community, projected onto the monolith in real-time. 
  • Community - The best tweets were selected and displayed live, inspiring fans to get involved.
  • Competition - We built in easter eggs for fans to uncover in the form of 5x5 codes hidden into the whole graphical sequencing, if discovered they could be used to redeem exclusive game content in the Xbox store.

RESULTS

The Xbox Series X launch was the hottest virtual gaming event of the year. Not only was it a world-first in terms of creating a new type of VFX hologram all controlled and interacted with by our digital audience, it was also an awe-inspiring brand activation that has paved the way for future virtual product launches and redefined how to engage audiences and build communities remotely.

It was the perfect way to unveil the new console and reward the loyal gaming community with entertainment, nostalgia, and fun. Over 800,000 people viewed the livestream over the 6-hour duration and earned coverage in top UK outlets, including the Telegraph, The Sun & Metro amongst others.

The hero launch video has had over 8.8 million views and counting on Twitter alone, with the campaign generating over 22 million views and over 1.2 million engagements in the 4 weeks following the launch, making this the most successful custom activation in Xbox UK’s history, and driving record console sales in the lead up to Christmas. 

Dreams Within was one of the most innovative and successful content campaigns that Xbox has ever put on in the United Kingdom. We're tremendously happy with the result, which is testament to the creativity of the teams at Assembly and UNIT9 to drive so much excitement for our new next generation consoles, Xbox Series X|S.

Sam Bateman, Marketing Communications Lead – Xbox UKI

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(Microsoft) Xbox: Power Your Dreams

For the launch of the world’s most powerful console, we built a physical monolithic structure, inspired by the Xbox Series X console itself, that came to life with world-first real-time graphical overlays during an interactive six-hour livestream.

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UNIT9

+44 207 613 3330 info@unit9.com