New York — Microsoft has selected Samsung as the exclusive HDTV worldwide marketing partner for the next-generation Xbox high-definition (HD) gaming platform.
The announcement was made this morning during media day at the Home Entertainment Expo at the New York Hilton, which will open to the public April 29-May 1.
As part of this marketing deal, both companies will install over 25,000 Samsung HDTVs in Microsoft Xbox retail kiosks worldwide, with half that total budgeted for the United States. The new 23-inch Samsung LCD TV (LNR238W) will be paired at retail with the new Xbox console which offers a super-fast 12-millisecond pixel-switching speed and enable “intense action while overcoming any motion artifacts,” the companies said.
Both companies did say that there is no plan to bundle these products at retail, but that this is just the first of several joint marketing efforts between the two companies.
The global marketing and promotional alliance between Microsoft and Samsung Electronics will include cinema, POS, television, print, online and various other media efforts, with further details becoming available in coming months.
Microsoft’s first high-definition game will incorporate Samsung-branded products as well as instances of Samsung’s logo as part of the overall HD gaming experience. This will mark the first time Microsoft incorporates a consumer electronics technology partner with the Xbox console and games, the companies noted.
In commenting on the deal, Peter Weedfald, senior VP, consumer electronics and North America corporate marketing for Samsung Electronics America, said, “Gaming has become a primary force for innovation in the entertainment and technology industries. Samsung has selected Microsoft Xbox as the best next-generation game console and a key driver in the global HDTV revolution.”
Details on the next-generation Xbox were scant from Edward Bland, global marketing general manager of Microsoft’s home and entertainment division for Xbox, explaining that its major introduction will be held at the E3 show in Los Angeles the week of May 16. But he did note that “no decision has been made as yet for a blue-laser format” for Xbox. Bland noted that “either Blu-ray or HD DVD would be acceptable” and that the next-generation Xbox would be “extendable” in that area. Weedfald added that Samsung has also not selected a blue-laser format as of yet.
When asked how this partnership compares to Sony’s PS2 efforts, Weedfald said, “Samsung is a company that historically believes in open platforms and technology partnerships. We don’t open retail stores or sell direct to compete against our retail partners. We believe that open platforms are the best way to serve consumers.”
Microsoft was drawn to Samsung in part by the fact that 85 percent of its video display line consists of digital or HD-ready units, according to Weedfald.
Negotiations between Samsung and Microsoft on this alliance took around a year, Weedfald said. Both companies enjoy a long-standing relationship as strategic and tactical business partners. Microsoft Xbox currently incorporates Samsung technology, and Samsung will continue to be a tech driver for the next-generation Xbox video game console, the companies said.
As a part of their continued relationship, Microsoft and Samsung Electronics are uniting in a nationwide (USA) cause-marketing program entitled “Samsung’s Hope For Education.” Now in its second year, the program will deliver more than $2 million in much-needed technology and software products, including Encarta Reference Library 2005, to elementary, middle and high schools across America through an online essay contest. For more information on the contest, visit www.hopeforeducation.com.