What’s next for the Xbox 360 at UK retail?

In June last year, GfK Chart-Track announced that the Xbox 360 had overtaken Nintendo’s Wii to become the UK’s best-selling home console for that generation.

With almost nine million units sold, the machine is second only to the monolithic PS2 in terms of home console sales in the UK.

Launched back in December 2005, the 360 enjoyed eight years launching blockbuster franchises such as Gears of War, Forza and Crackdown before its successor, the Xbox One, hit UK shelves in November 2013.

But with the new machine selling rapidly, is there any life left in the Xbox 360?

Lee Williams, Xbox 360 product manager at Microsoft, tells MCV that, while the One may be fresh hardware, the 360’s established catalogue of games and lower price still makes it an ideal purchase for many first-time console buyers.

With exciting new bundles and the largest library of games, the Xbox 360 offers consumers a great value entry into gaming,” he says. We’re still seeing strong demand for the UK’s best-ever-selling home console, and with further investment including the introduction of a 500GB SKU, we are committed to supporting Xbox 360 for the foreseeable future.”

Williams adds that the Xbox 360 is particularly growing in popularity among families and younger children, thanks to the wide selection of kid-friendly games that have built up over the last near-decade – and continue to launch on the console.

Since Xbox One’s launch in November 2013, we’ve seen demand for Xbox 360 amongst parents of younger children grow,” he reveals. This has been supported by sales of software titles such as Minecraft and FIFA, whose low PEGI rating makes them ideal for ‘new-to-console’ buyers and younger audiences. Plus, with the huge library of Arcade games in the Xbox Store, there’s a game to suit every age and taste.”

While the Xbox One may be understandably occupying the bulk of Microsoft’s advertising efforts at the moment, the firm is also making the most of this new opportunity among families, releasing a range of offers and new SKUs tilted towards children who may not be ready for the step up to next-gen.

Where it makes sense, we tailor our bundles and marketing to ensure we offer the best value and relevant content for our customers,” says Williams. An example of this is our upcoming Xbox 360 Blue Special Edition – the console comes with two free games, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Toy Soldiers. This PEGI 12-rated bundle makes it perfect for parents looking to gift an Xbox 360 to their teenagers this Christmas, where PEGI 18-rated titles wouldn’t be suitable.

Likewise, our FIFA 15 Xbox 360 Value Bundle is rated PEGI 3, making it ideal for those keen to enter gaming from a young age with a great value price tag.”

It’s not just the audience for the 360 that has evolved over the years. The way retailers sell the machine – as well as the face of those retailers themselves – has drastically altered since 2005. Williams outlines some of the new ways Microsoft is working with stores.

Back when the Xbox 360 launched, bricks and mortar stores were the key focus,” he states. But we’ve seen advances in online experience, mobile transactions and the growing importance of eCRM (Electronic Customer Relationship Management) and loyalty programmes to retail since that time.

The modern retail landscape means we can be a lot more targeted in our efforts, due to the greater availability of data and insights – tailoring offers and communications to specific audiences, and even individual customers.

We’ve recently launched our code-to-content delivery programme, allowing digital software to be sold directly in-store at GAME, and we’re rolling out ESD (Electronic Software Download) and POSA (Point of Sale Activation) cards to a growing number of retail partners, making it even easier for customers to buy content digitally.”

While the Xbox One may be making headlines as Microsoft’ next-generation of gaming, the 360 continues to shift units, attracting new demographics as its core audience moves onto the new hardware.

Xbox 360 hardware is available marketwide at retail and via our exclusive Xbox distributor Exertis, alongside its accessory portfolio, which continues to perform incredibly strongly,” Williams says of the machine’s availability
to retailers.

He concludes by saying more is on the way to keep the aging box fresh in the minds of consumers – and the 360 isn’t out for the count yet: We have more great value bundles, a stunning Blue Special Edition console launching this October, plus a growing Arcade and software portfolio for gamers to look forward to.”

About MCV Staff

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