Visit Xbox: The Birth Of Gaming Tourism


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Case Film
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Xbox’s belief is that gaming should be for everyone. Yet for decades, videogame marketing has always focused on hero characters, guns and explosions. But gaming has become so much more. The graphics in Xbox games are now almost life-like, open-world games are vast, and developers are increasingly including photo modes in their games.

How could Xbox attract a wider audience who didn’t care about guns and bombs?


To bring in that new audience, we created a brand new reason to buy videogames.

Not to play. To visit.

Xbox transformed into a travel brand, promoting not the gameplay, but the locations available in games – all built around a groundbreaking partnership with one of the world’s biggest travel guide publishers, Rough Guides. Together, we created 'The Rough Guide to Xbox', which functioned like a travel guide to a country (what to see, when to go, what to buy etc.), but for the first time, this advice was entirely for virtual worlds.

It changed how customers experience games, and we amplified that shift across all channels, with tourist board-style commercials and OOH ads, experiential in-game guided tours, selling console bundles as package holidays and even applying for official tourist board accreditation.


How do you talk about tech benefits like 4K, HDR, and 60 FPS, to a new mainstream audience, who didn't resonate with the specs, or even the conventions of videogame advertising like hero characters and weapons?

To justify the purchase of Xbox’s high-spec console and games, we had to get people to appreciate the richness of Xbox's games in a new way, beyond the normal way of promoting games.

So Xbox underwent an unprecedented brand transformation:

a gaming brand became a travel brand.

For the first time, we began promoting not the gameplay, but the locations available in games, appealing to people on an emotional rather than rational level. It changed how this audience discovers, experience, and purchases games.

It was no longer about promoting games as things to play – but as destinations to see - all wrapped up in the tourist board-esque call-to-action 'Visit Xbox'.


For the idea's centrepiece, Xbox collaborated with Rough Guides to do something they'd never done in their almost 40 year history of publishing travel guides: create a fully-functioning Rough Guide to virtual destinations.

Our writers and researchers spent months exploring Xbox's worlds, noting down points of interest in order to make the 'Rough Guide to Xbox' work as a genuine reference book and travel companion, just as a 'Rough Guide to Paris' or a 'Rough Guide to Italy' would. Except the villages to explore, monuments to visit, sights to see and info on money, accommodation and getting around are all only available in Xbox's richly-detailed games.


- Debuted in 29 countries and counting.

- 4x average response rate

- 55% traffic increase

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