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Microsoft kicks off Christmas marketing campaign

Platform holder to focus attention on non-gaming capabilities of 360, but campaign isn't a reaction to Sony's recent PS3 slim push

Microsoft will launch its Christmas marketing campaign in the UK tomorrow with a firm emphasis on communicating the non-gaming capabilities of the Xbox 360.

The platform holder has already begun its work with third parties, explained senior director for Northern Europe at the company's Entertainment & Devices division Neil Thompson, but there's much more to come.

"We have extensive above-the-line campaigns that have already kicked off, to be honest, with a lot of our third-party publishing partners," he told GamesIndustry.biz. You might have seen a lot of TV work we've already done around some great titles - The Beatles: Rock Band, and so on.

"But from October 2 we're launching our own TV work explaining to consumers the broader entertainment offerings we have on Xbox 360, which is going to centre on our music offerings, movie offerings - and then obviously the unique TV experience we've got in connection with Sky, and the Sky service we're bringing to Live.

"All of that is going to round out for us the broader entertainment platform that the 360 is, and we're working on some fantastic software titles from our end, such as Lips and Forza. Plus we've done a lot of work in the last few weeks, working with Activision on Modern Warfare 2, and other great titles that are coming out for gamers.

"So really it's an extension of what we were doing last year, with perhaps a little bit more emphasis around the broader entertainment offering, as well as all the great games that will be available."

The campaign follows an extensive television advertising spend from Sony in its efforts to put a similar message out to consumers about its new-to-market PlayStation 3 Slim - but Thompson was firm that Microsoft's campaign isn't a copycat ploy.

"In some ways I wish we were that agile," he smiled. "No, we're just focusing on what we think are our core strengths. We think gaming is a core strength of ours, we think the breadth of our entertainment offering is a real core strength. And Live, in many ways, is just our unique value proposition.

"We're very focused on what we think we're offering to consumers, rather than what anybody else thinks they're offering them."

The full interview with Neil Thompson is available now.

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