The launch party for the XBOX360 was on tonight in downtown Taipei around the Taipei 101 building, next to the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store. Based on what I saw, I’m guessing it went somewhat better than the Japan launch, but may have been somewhat muted due to the fact that the 360 has been available from gobs of game shops already, due to the fact that Taiwan imports most of their games from Japan anyway.
Full pictures and details after the jump.
I found out about the launch event through random news browsing on the net – the only problem was that I went to the wrong place first (the article said in front of KMall, exactly where it wasn’t). A person at the Microsoft store there showed me a flyer about the event, which apparently started at about 7:00PM, and it was already 8:30PM. Oops.
The launch came complete with a stage and a pair of showgirl emcees, an XBOX360 branded Ford Focus, a buying station hosted by retailer FNAC, a capsule prize booth and of course, a battery of game kiosks. When I got there, there was still a small crowd of people hanging around, either waiting for the final prize drawing of the night or just hanging out playing games on the demo kiosks. Games on deck were Perfect Dark Zero, Project Gotham 2, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2006, Fight Night Round 3, a bunch of Kameo, and of course, plenty of Dead or Alive 4.
Eager gamers were everywhere with their 360 and goodies bag in tow – about 80% of the people still there were carrying a brand new box with them. I walked past the 360mobile and asked a salesman how much the boxes were – I’d heard rumors that they were drastically cheaper than in the US. I was also hoping for a promotional discount for the launch.“Pro or Core?”
he asks. Crap. I thought they were only bringing the functional version to Taiwan.
The Pro version was 12,980NTD and the Core was 9,980NTD, about $401USD and $310USD respectively. So much for the rumors. The games are another matter – Perfect Dark Zero was selling for 1,380NTD, or about $43USD. I’ve already seen games like Dead or Alive 4 for about this much or 1,500NTD($46USD), way below the $60USD price point, as well as a Tetris game for pretty cheap, like $35USD or so.
The two showgirl emcees took to the stage for the last time and gave away the final two prizes for the day: a set of Promedia 220W speakers and a giant picture of an LCD TV.
I wandered around and found the game shed – a mockup living room complete with comfy sofa, HDTV, surround sound system and happy couple playing Dead or Alive 4. After checking my photo, I do
see a goodies bag behind the sofa, so I don’t think
they were “paid actors”, though I wouldn’t be surprised.
Next to the gamin’ hut was a display case with some art adorned 360 faceplates. Some were merely signed by some famous guy whose name I can’t read, but there were some nice
faceplates mixed in there along with an entire 360 shell. All of them are for a charity auction
, and I remember something similar for the US launch. 7 days left if you want one, and the case
is already up to about $600USD or so.However, if you buy it, chances are that Microsoft will attach the following notice: Installing this case on your XBOX360 will invalidate the warranty, and Microsoft and its affiliates will not be responsible for the inevitable house fire that will ensue. Also, as this is a genuine XBOX product, keep it away from babies. It will crush them on sight.
Moving over, there was a shelf with different 360 titles that were available. Strangely, I didn’t see any of these in the buy booth – just Perfect Dark Zero. If you think Dead or Alive 4 would be the major system seller here, you’d be wrong – if they were pimping Shin Sangoku Musou 4 Special (Dynasty Warriors 4) at the event, I would bet money there’d be at least twice the people there; they love the hell out of that game here. As of March 3rd, the PS2 version of Dynasty Warriors 4 was still the 5th best selling game on the Taiwan Famitsu charts, and it was released in September.
It’s also the 4th most popular game of all time under Dragon Quest VIII, Onimusha 3 and Final Fantasy X. Dynasty Warriors 3? It’s at number 17. Of course, chances are they did have it at the buy booth, but all they had that I could see was PDZ.Finally, I headed home empty-handed, but with my wallet intact. Time to wait for the PS3 and the promise of a region free home console…