Video game makers have a bold plan to save the American family. Well, sort of. Bringing families and friends together is the marketing hook behind Microsoft's Xbox, as well as promotions from rival Nintendo for its Wii game system. The tech titans want to reach beyond teens and adult technophiles and ring up more business from casual gamers.
An ad for Xbox shows a group of gamers arriving at a shopping mall parking lot by hot-air balloon then turning the lot into video game central.
"We're growing our consumer base," says Jeff Bell, a Microsoft (MSFT) corporate vice president, about the company's new ad campaign and the Oct. 22 launch of the family-oriented Xbox 360 Arcade console. "We want to broaden our appeal."
When the original Xbox arrived in November 2001, it was targeted at hard-core gamers, such as "the stereotypical young male dressed in black and living in the basement of his parents' home," Bell says. Microsoft now wants to show that gaming doesn't have to be just an individual endeavor.