Features & News

Xbox Collective Party

November 20, 2009, Author: John Ellis

We had an invite to Monday’s Xbox Collective Party, however with no staff able to attend we enlisted the help of a ringer; John Ellis. This is his story:

Monday night, Microsoft held a launch party called Xbox Collectives, which helped see in the arrival of Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm and Zune on Xbox Live. The party also coincided with Xbox lives 5th Birthday. I was lucky enough to win some tickets to the event from Acey Bongos via Twitter, and the only information I had was to “bring one friend to The Music Room, W1K 5AB, at 6.45pm. Over 18’s only, please bring ID, and be ready to party!”

Sitting on the Virgin Pendalino train heading to London I was wondering what lay in store for me at the secret VIP party in the heart of London, and after a short trip on the tube I was there.

The venue was down a dimly lit backstreet in Mayfair in which I walked down hoping not to be mugged by a tramp in the shadows. After I was welcomed by the gentlemanly door staff and the velvet ropes parted, I was signed off the guest list and proceeded upstairs. I was greeted by a PR girl playing (or should I say singing?) Lips. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting:

Manager: We have a Job for you Susan…

Susan: Oh, that’s brilliant. Is it a modelling shoot? PR at Silverstone? Trip to Dubai? Paris maybe?

Manager: Erm… well not exactly Susan, we need you to play a game called Lips on the Xbox 360. It’s like karaoke, we need you to play it non-stop for three hours…

Susan: Oh…

Anyway… After putting my coat in the cloakroom, I proceeded into the main room through a gateway of drink-laden waiters and waitresses with a huge TV camera point directly at my mug. I didn’t know how to react but a part of me wanted to drop my pants. Imagine the website hits… Deciding against the immature option I put my best VIP face on and made it into the main room.

The venue was very accommodating; there was a constant stream of waiters and waitresses with delightful and delicious canapés. Also and more importantly, there was a bar… a free bar, which was a nice touch indeed. The room was laid out with a DJ console on the main stage and about 10 Xboxes positioned down the side of the room available to play. The logos of Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm and Zune were everywhere to be seen.

The whole point of this event was to celebrate five years of Xbox Live and promote the recent social network heavy Live update. At about 19:30 a TV presenter/comedian and his cue cards took the stage to talk about Xbox Live and crack some jokes and let us all know how great Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm and Zune movies is great on Xbox. I couldn’t help but feel we were being sold something that we already owned. We have used these social networking tools for sometime on our PC’s for years, not to mention our iPhones and Blackberries; we know what they do and how they work. Sticking it on the Xbox dashboard is simply a convenience, personally I can’t wait for the twitter bog roll holder because then my social life will be complete! We were then treated to a short video of Taio Cruz and Paloma Faith using these new features on the Xbox and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Then, as if by magic and  jumping out of the TV, they took the stage and performed three songs on stage.

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After the performances we were left to mingle and indulge in the free bar and food.

Overall I was a bit disappointed at the lack of the games on show, with the recent release of Modern Warfare 2 I thought it might of reared its industry-shaking head but it was nowhere to be seen. I thought it was strange as games like this, Halo 3 ODST and Forza 3 sure do rack up the subscriptions on Xbox Live. The event was purely based on highlighting the new additions to Xbox Live, I would go as far as to say that the disc trays were probably even empty. The Xboxes were filled with arcade titles though. I saw the likes of Rainbow Island, Sonic, and Marvel vs Capcom 2 being played.

After the performances, the goodie bags came out and the numbers in room thinned somewhat. It seems some people were just here for them, as soon as they were revealed many people left like greyhounds let out of the traps. I managed to have a sneak peak in one of the goodie bags and it contained an Official Xbox controller and Chatpad accessory for all your facetwitzunebook.fm needs, and 2100 Microsoft points. I didn’t manage to get one when I left at 21.30 as they had all gone, so to reward me for staying at the event longer I got nothing. I think maybe the thirty-odd people behind me still at the event would be disappointed also. Oh well, the luckily the Xbox 360 I bought was packaged with a controller… At 21.30 I made my exit, got my coat from the cloakroom, said goodbye to Susan still singing Lips and thanked the door staff on the way out.

Overall though it was a good night, top venue and excellent hospitality. I did truly feel like a VIP, living the champagne lifestyle on lemonade money. Thanks for having me Microsoft!