On 20 September 2014, I had the privilege of attending the official launch of Xbox One at Microsoft South Africa on behalf of Resolve Immix. I paid no attention to the pre-communication and build-up that Microsoft had throughout the month so that I went there with no expectations.
I decided to team up with my adventure crew (my life partner and his little cousin). We got there early, drove through the gates of Microsoft and were immediately transported into a fantasy world. The signature grass-green Xbox One branded banners looked like royal flags that stood proudly outside the Microsoft building, waving as attendees passed them. There were also two Xbox One branded Suzuki Swifts that filled the air with music from their roaring cinematic sound systems.
We were directed to the front reception area where we were given a key which granted passage into the nine adventure zones that were strategically positioned throughout the building. We set a plan of action, then fuelled up with coffee (juice for the little one) and cupcakes and made our way towards the bright sunlit area on the other side of the building.
The luscious green garden made a picturesque backdrop for the array of carnival-type activities that were planned for the younger crowd. Green lanterns hung from the trees to enhance the aesthetic appeal and bundles of straw covered with white sheets (in place of chairs), were scattered around the garden area for adults who wanted to relax with a cocktail. The smell of waffles and chocolate filled the atmosphere and there was music, laughing and happiness all around us. We started in the parachute castle (yes we did this with the kids), then moved to the water entertainment which included hand-steering boats and human hamster balls (apparently we were too ‘adult’ to get into one of our own) and finally got ourselves Xbox-branded while our little man enjoyed doing back-flips on the bungee trampoline.
Next, we made our way indoors for a scrumptious lunch and indulgent sugary green dessert before heading off to the Microsoft auditorium. The more experienced +18 gamers were given the chance to try out the enhanced capabilities of the Xbox One. It’s true what they say, Xbox One does indeed take gaming to a whole new level. The moment I held that controller, the game (Destiny) came alive. The advanced graphics and artificial intelligence blew me away. It really did feel as though I was walking though barren war grounds with a gun in my hand. Let me add that I absolutely love the feel of the Xbox One controller. My hands are small so it fits perfectly. And I have to comment on the sound in that auditorium. Gaming will never be the same again.
We then got to chat to one of the Xbox One promoters about its further capabilities. Firstly, it’s cloud-powered, secondly – and most importantly – I can easily switch from gaming to watching a movie or listening to music or even working while I Skype my friends and family. In other words, it caters for the advanced multitasker (aka me) by allowing us to split our screen to do all of the above. A definite win in my books!
We took photos with the very charming Halo soldiers and then spent a good hour or so getting to know Xbox One Kinect. From dancing to sporting – it is super responsive. After a tiring few tennis matches and a dance-off, we said our goodbyes headed back home.
I’ve always loved Microsoft but now I’m a fan. I would like to commend Microsoft South Africa for a fantastic launch event and for going all out to promote and educate users on how to get the most out of this incredible technology. Everyone was friendly and helpful and I am honoured to have attended this event. Xbox One will be on sale from 23 September 2014 and will cost between R6,300 and R6,800. If you can’t afford it, at least try it out. It’s worth a shot.
Written by Sunisha Jular