Gamers around the world party in advance of Xbox One release

Call it early New Year’s Eve, or even early Christmas: Gamers around the globe are taking part in launch celebrations Thursday for the Xbox One, some at parties and rock concerts in venues from New York to Zealand, others watching a live broadcast on Spike TV, and many by lining up at retail stores to be among the first to buy the new console when it goes on sale at midnight Friday.

In New York, “Dead Rising 3” zombies, “Ryse: Son of Rome” Roman soldiers and “Forza Motorsport 5” supercars converged on Times Square, along with thousands of gamers. As billboards glowed Xbox green, rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis entertained 1,000 fans at the Best Buy Theater.

In New Zealand, fans celebrated at Shed 10 on Queen’s Wharf in Auckland, with the city’s Sky Tower — the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, at 1,076 feet — pulsing green.

In Paris, there were several venues, and some fans, like those shown above, came as the chicest zombies around in honor of “Dead Rising 3.”

In London, entertainment epicenter Leicester Square was converted into Area One with a glowing, green nexus and fan festivities throughout the day.

And in Los Angeles, Hollywood’s biggest gamers walked the green carpet and mingled with fans who came out to try Xbox One games and enjoy beats courtesy of deadmau5.

“The launch of Xbox One is truly Day One,” said Marc Whitten, Xbox chief product officer. “Today is the beginning of the future of entertainment, and we could not be more proud to deliver Xbox One to fans around the world.”

Microsoft’s much-anticipated, new-generation games and entertainment system brings the best games, live TV, Skype, sports, fitness, music and more to one single device at the center of the living room, all available at the command of your voice, powered by Kinect and Bing.

The new-generation Kinect offers improved voice and motion control, responding to commands and gestures and making new gaming experiences possible.

At launch, Xbox One also brings an exclusive games lineup that won many awards at E3, the game industry trade show, including “Forza Motorsport 5,” “Dead Rising 3,” “Ryse: Son of Rome,” “Killer Instinct” and “Zoo Tycoon.”

The multiplayer experience on Xbox Live evolves with Xbox One to include features such as Smart Match, which finds the perfect match for a gamer, and is supported by a new community-powered reputation system. Using “Xbox Record That,” gamers can also record, edit and share their favorite gaming moments through Game DVR and Upload Studio.

The console’s architecture means those at home don’t have to choose between games and entertainment. You can keep watching TV while you play, or jump instantly from a game to TV, movies, music, sports, the Internet and Skype video chats.

“We believe a truly next-generation system must deliver not only incredible games but also all of the entertainment you love in one device,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Xbox marketing, strategy and business. “From your favorite games, to the hottest TV shows, movies and music, to surfing the Web, to Skype conversations with your family and friends, only on Xbox One can you instantly switch between all of your entertainment and snap them together — all with the sound of your voice.”

Xbox One sells for $499.99 in the U.S. It is also available in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Austria.

With all the excitement about Xbox One, the party is really just starting. Read the press release for more details.

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Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff