Slow news day? Got that right! How about I tell you about my visit to the grand opening of the Microsoft Store in Danbury, CT then? First of all this is the first Microsoft Store to open in New England and it’s the 3rd to open in the North East USA (with two others already up and running in New Jersey). Of course there was a line to get into the store for the grand opening since visitors would get tickets to a concert later that night as well as a free bag and t-shirt. While waiting for the store to open, some of the store employees gave away things like an Xbox, Laptop, and other accessories to certain winners who were waiting in line. The long line of people was conveniently designed to wind down the malls halls and past the Apple store as seen above. The opening included a few speeches including an appearance from the Danbury mayor and a one million dollar charitable software grant from Microsoft.
These kids were near the front of the line and decided to sport their Microsoft Store shirts right away.
We wished that this was the Microsoft Surface tablet that certain people were using and showing off. Close though… it was the Samsung Series 7 Slate running the Windows 8 Release Preview.
This little girl was having tons of fun playing with the Kinectimals game on a Nokia Lumia 900.
By the way, the Microsoft Stores are still running the “Smoked by Windows Phone” promotion, however the prizes are a little different. If you win a challenge, you get $1000 store credit and if you lose you might get $25 store credit if you’re one of the lucky people. The challenge is chosen randomly from a series of laminated cards.
The tone and atmosphere in the store opening was quite different from the Microsoft hatred you see so often in the tech press and comments sections of many articles. There were teenage boys who love their hardcore gaming Xbox equipment. There were adolescent and teenage girls who love the Xbox Kinect dancing games (including the Star Wars Kinect “Dance for Jabba” mode.) There were families and parents who use laptops for work and education. The crowd definitely did not look like solely a group of people who wanted free tickets to an OAR concert (like some of the Kin promotions Microsoft had done.)
The store itself was also very impressive. The video wall that goes around the whole store is beyond anything you’ve ever seen in retail. Certain sections of the video wall actually display Xbox screens with controllers or Kinect sensors that you can interact with. Meanwhile, around the border of those screens and across the entire wall, animations appear and change periodically. The most amazing graphics I saw was the Bing sequence. It was a Bing search bar with a few little facts superimposed over a full 360 degree animated panorama of a beautiful beach. You could see the waves flowing and people walking around on the screens beneath the Bing search bar in all directions. It was a lot of fun!