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Xbox One launch report: An extravagant global gathering

Microsoft waved goodbye to its luckless and calamitous Xbox One campaign with a global staggering of boisterous launch events that marked a new era for the company.

It was as though Microsoft was celebrating the end of a curse. As fireworks spread across the night sky in Washington, armoured trucks filled with Xbox Ones were cheered as they rode into Times Square. In Leicester Square, a huge X symbol overlooked the high street and, on the other side of the planet, the Sydney Tower was beaming out a familiar shade of green.

This was a bold and unimaginably expensive global celebration across thirteen countries - a message that Xbox is here, shouted from the rooftops across some of the biggest games markets in the western world.

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It was also telling of the differences in philosophy between Microsoft and Sony. The PlayStation 4 maker had a more intimate launch, limited to North America. Though Shuhei Yoshida and the team now have an enviable level of support from the core games community, Microsoft flaunted how better resourced it is for generating publicity among the masses.

On-site entertainment ranged from the weird to the wonderful, such as when zombies shuffled across New York to keep those queuing for a console on their toes, or when a man dressed as a Roman gladiator was asked to pose at the Nasdaq podium.

Old tricks were still relied upon. Microsoft's obsession with mid-tier celebrities, like Robbie Keane for the Ireland launch (he's a footballer, by the way), has become so brazen and lacking in self-awareness that it's almost charming these days.

Slideshow: Xbox One launches around the world

More perilous was when Xbox Live suddenly collapsed mid-way through the launches. The hit was so bad that the Xbox website and Outlook were down too, but within an hour, services were mostly operational again. Finally, some luck.

The negativity may have been relentless in the build up, but Xbox One has survived the onslaught. It is now, most likely, installed in more than a million homes. I'm willing to bet some execs at Microsoft are confident that, once people familiarise themselves with the new console, the system will finally begin to sell itself.