One Night Only

On a cold November 22nd night, Microsoft took over the world to usher in the next-generation of gaming with the Xbox One.

Celebrations echoed across the globe as the new console launched in 13 different countries. The festivities kicked off in New Zealand as fans partied in Auckland alongside the iconic Sky Tower. The landmark continued to pulsate Xbox green throughout the evening as New Zealander Dan Livingston became the world’s first Xbox One owner.

“We have the best community of gamers around the world, and this was on display last night,” said Marc Whitten, chief product officer at Xbox. “The launch of Xbox One is truly Day One. Today is the beginning of the future of entertainment, and we could not be more proud to deliver Xbox One to fans around the world.”

Next up was the UK and celebrations closer to home were no less grandiose. Microsoft took over the entertainment epicentre of London as it rebranded Leicester Square as something far more appropriate for the evening’s events: Xbox One Square.

Celebrities, media, gamers and the general public alike flocked to the Square for an evening in honour of the Xbox One. Fans were wooed as zombies from Dead Rising 3 roamed the streets alongside a Roman legion straight out of Ryse: Son of Rome. Meanwhile, Top Gear’s driver extraordinaire, The Stig, drove through the crowds in Forza Motorsport 5’s flagship McLaren supercar with headline performer Plan B as his passenger.

The rapper was joined by other artists including Katy B, who performed live on stage as part of an electric show that lasted for over two hours. England star Andros Townsend was also on hand and put his football skills to the test as he faced off against gamers in FIFA 14.

“We’re proud and excited that Xbox One is going to be the biggest launch in Xbox history,” said Phil Harrison, corporate vice president at Microsoft.

“With the strongest line-up of games we’ve ever seen for a new console. Pre-orders from fans
across the UK are at unprecedented levels. The games industry is evolving and growing fast and we are proud to have so many British developers and creators helping to drive the new Xbox One era.”

As the events took place, the countdown to midnight was on for the crowds of Xbox fans waiting to get their hands on the new console. GAME was on hand for those braving the cold as it opened the doors to its pop-up store in the Xbox One Gaming Zone in The Trocadero.

300 GAME branches staged midnight launches to allow eager fans who had pre-ordered the Xbox One to get their hands on their new pride and joy.

Martyn Gibbs, CEO at GAME added: “Last night was incredible. You could almost taste the excitement. Gamers have been waiting for Xbox One for years and we saw a massive turnout at the midnight openings at more than 300 GAME stores across the UK.“

Outside of London and the scene was no different. Hordes of gamers across the UK queued anxiously outside retailers to grab their Xbox One. In total, 500 stores opened across the country.

Tesco got in on the action, too. 100 Tesco Extra stores opened their doors from midnight to offer the Xbox One while ten selected stores were rebranded to incorporate the Xbox One logo.

As the UK festivities came to a close, celebrations moved stateside as over 1,000 Xbox One fans gathered in New York. Those in attendance were wowed by rapper and DJ duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who performed in Times Square.

Elsewhere in the US and gamers could walk down the green carpet in Los Angeles as they enjoyed a performance by deadmau5.