Xbox 360 Lounge opens in Tokyo

Microsoft's Xbox 360 showroom cuts ribbon on doors; visitors can sample next-gen console, eat food, or just hang out.

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TOKYO--In the Omotesando area of Tokyo, known for chic boutiques and pricey eateries, Microsoft today officially opened its Xbox 360 Lounge. As a retail storefront to be used for various promotions in anticipation of the console's launch in the country December 10, the building was still literally just brick and mortar when GameSpot visited in September.

Just before the doors were set to open, about a dozen people, a mix of press and curious gamers, lined up to check out the store. Several bouquets of flowers were sent to the shop, including one from Hidetoshi Nakata of the Bolton Wanderers, an English soccer team.

Though the Xbox 360 Lounge is tall enough for two stories, Microsoft decided to make it into a one-story space with a high ceiling and plenty of windows, making it stand out from the rest of the buildings on the street. The roof is decorated with a giant convex three-dimensional Xbox 360 logo, slightly angled so that passersby on the street can see it.

Inside the lounge, the Xbox 360 console's actual presence is surprisingly limited. Lined up against one wall are six gaming stations outfitted with high-definition monitors, where visitors can try out upcoming games. For a more social experience, there are also two setups where visitors can sit on pricey couches to experience the console on a large screen in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. The games on display were also featured as demos at this year's Tokyo Game Show, including Every Party, Wrestle Kingdom, Ninety Nine Nights, Ridge Racer 6, Kameo: Elements of Power, and Dynasty Warriors 5 Special.

Most of the lounge functions as a casual cafe where visitors can sit down to relax or meet up. Aside from coffee and tea, the lounge has a selection of edibles, including sandwiches, salads, and soups. It also offers sweets from the top confectioners in Tokyo, including some exclusive cakes such as Le 360 and Jivara X.

Occasionally, the Xbox 360 Lounge will also function as promotional space for the console. For such events, the lounge is equipped with a large, 200-inch screen. Microsoft will be sponsoring a lengthy launch countdown at the lounge in December.

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