On a recent Saturday, about 1,000 women across the country moonlighted as marketers for Microsoft's newest Xbox services.House cleaners, hairdressers, guidance counselors and IT technicians got a $150 pack of Xbox freebies for opening their homes to at least 10 friends or relatives...
Microsoft signed up Maldonado and the others to drum up interest among women like them in the services and the newest Xbox console, whose price was cut in the fall to $199.
"We've sold 20 million consoles to date globally since we launched three years ago," says Heather Snavely, Microsoft's director of interactive entertainment business global platforms. "In order to get to the next 20 million, we need to get a new audience of women and teens. We're going after them in ways that are different than ways we've done before."
Brilliant. Especially considering game consoles have a strong "network effect" -- you want to have the same console all your friends are on. (Which is a big part of what makes the PS3's ongoing slump so dangerous for Sony (SNE).)
Up till now we've been seeing Microsoft and Sony in an increasingly bitter struggle for the hearts and wallets of so-called "hardcore gamers" (think socially awkward males aged 17-25). Meanwhile, Nintendo (NTDOY) has reinvented the wheel with its Wii, crushing both of its competitors in sales by discovering a new, and much larger, market in games that appeal to casual gamers and women with its pick-up-and-play simplicity. Contd at http://www.alleyinsider.com/2009/2/microsoft-throwing-xbox-360-tupperware-parties-to-hook-women-brilliant-msft