Microsoft continues its pre-Christmas retail drive as it teams up with specialist retailer Gamestation to kit out an entire floor dedicated to Xbox 360 and PC gaming.
Launching today at the flagship store in Birmingham, the Microsoft Underground X-perience offers wall-mounted HDTVs with 12 Xbox 360 units for multiplayer gaming instore, as well as connections to Xbox Live and an open and lively atmosphere to cultivate social gaming.
Although this is the first store of its kind in Europe, Gamestation MD Mike Logue confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that, "we would like to see this type of experience in several more cities," as the retailer comes out fighting after recent reinvestment from parent company Blockbuster, with the intention of opening another 80 stores in the next twelve months.
"We want to take games retail to the next level," said Logue.
"Consoles are an expensive product but we believe the 360 is value for money because of the technology and what it offers, the quality of the games. So come and try it. We're happy with consumers coming to spend an hour here and seeing what they can get out of the Xbox 360."
"In the major cities, I'd spend hours as a kid going to record shops and soaking up the atmosphere - it was cool to be seen there. That's what we're trying to do with Gamestation and gaming retail," he added.
As Microsoft continues its marketing push for the Xbox 360 in anticipation of a busy Christmas, the decision to back a company with 230 plus stores strengthens its commitment to the retail sector.
"At Microsoft we are always looking for new ways for our customers to interact with our products," said Jonathan Grimes, director of sales at Microsoft.
"Gamestation's flagship store in Birmingham is the ideal venue for Microsoft to showcase the amazing range of products we have to offer consumers."
"Together with Gamestation, Microsoft has created a truly unique interactive retail environment that allows us to communicate directly with gamers and provide them with an exciting space to enjoy the best we have to offer," he added.