Microsoft readies 360 Zero Hour

Xbox 360 launch event hits high desert November 20; contest for tickets to attend happening begins November 10.

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With just over two weeks to go before the launch of the Xbox 360, Microsoft still has a few details left to reveal to gamers. Among them are a solid list of launch day games and general availability of the console. Somewhere, further down the list, the unanswered questions are, "where is the launch event shindig going to take place and what will be there?"

The festivities, which were first mentioned in the Web-based viral marketing campaigns Origenxbox360.com and Hex168.com, will be called Xbox 360: Zero Hour. It will take place at sunset on November 20, and continue until the calendar turns to November 22, the official North American launch date of the console. However, the biggest news isn't when, it's where.

While most electro-geeks wouldn't dare take their expensive equipment near fine-grained sand, Microsoft is plopping down hundreds of high-definition Xbox 360 gaming stations right on a huge pile of it. Zero Hour will take place in a huge tent (see artist's conceptualization) in an undisclosed location in the Mojave Desert.

In addition to the stations showing off games from the system's launch lineup, titles from several publishers due in 2006 will also be featured, including live gameplay of Epic's Gears of War. Best Buy will be on hand to sell consoles without the panic associated with typical midnight madness sales. Food and beverages will be for sale, and entertainment will feature the likes of Kaiju Big Battel (think Mexican wrestling from Japan) and San Diego band Louis XIV.

Along with VIP winners from the Hex168 and Origen contests, Microsoft is giving away 1,500 pairs of tickets to the event with the help of various gaming sites. The contest will take place throughout the day on November 10. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more information.

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