The whole world's a video game these days. Or at least, a commercial for one.
Case in point: "Invitation," Crispin Porter + Bogusky's rip-roaring 90-second spot for Microsoft's Xbox One, highlighting the fusion of high-tech gaming, entertainment and real life.
The 90-second spot, directed by Bryan Buckley, shows average people in everyday settings beckoned into the excitement of Xbox entertainment by characters or elements of games and movies available on the highly anticipated console, coming Nov. 22. A giant bot from Titanfall noisily crashes a stuffy boardroom meeting to whisk a business exec away to interplanetary adventure. England soccer captain Steven Gerrard motions for a kid in the stands to join him on the field. Zachary Quinto's Mr. Spock beams into a train station with a pointed invitation for a young woman waiting on the platform. (Nice eyebrow elevation, Spock!) In the best bit, when a zombie from Dead Rising 3 raises its arm to signal a college kid studying in a library to join him, that arm falls off, so it has to gesture with its other one.
At the end, we see the people in the homes, partaking in some Xbox One action, and showing off features like gesture-sensitive menus, the ability to answer Skype calls and voice-command recognition. It's a fun, dynamic commercial, and its creators, Buckley included, offer insights in the requisite "making of" companion spot.
Throughout "Invitation," the narrator's argument that "your games and entertainment are no longer separated, but together, in one," is well made, but entirely trumped, in my humble opinion, by the more overarching theme of it all being integrated with our daily lives. Today, we're all media: Our games and entertainment are part of us, inseparable from ourselves, always just a click away, ever ready to liberate our tired psyches after a day of cubicle captivity or domestic drudgery.
(Other recent gaming spots make similar points, with Activision proposing that the pull of a new release is so strong, real-world measures must be taken so we can play, and Sony PlayStation showing how high-tech gaming has become entwined with nostalgia.)
It's ironic, perhaps, but inescapable, that both realms—the home and office grind and the escape offered by immersive, cutting-edge media—collide in technology, using the same bytes, pixels, microprocessors and broadband access to encroach upon and enrich our lives. Soon, there will be no separation whatsoever. We'll run up high scores as we compete for raises and promotions at our corporate GameJobs and amass points in competitions for daily deals by changing diapers and mowing the lawn.
Technology sets us free, as it enslaves us, as it sets us free.
Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Worldwide Chief Creative Officer: Rob Reilly
Executive Creative Director: Adam Chasnow
Creative Directors: Alex Lea, Avital Pinchevsky, Michael Raso, Matt Elhardt
Senior Art Director: Robbin Ingvarsson
Senior Copywriter: Waldemar Wegelin
Director of Video Production: Chad Hopenwasser
Executive Integrated Producer: Aaron Kovan
Junior Integrated Producer: Jamie Slade
Production Company: Hungry Man, Los Angeles
Director: Bryan Buckley
Visual Effects Director: Phil Crowe
Executive Producer: Mino Jarjoura
Line Producer: Brady Vant Hull
Director of Photography: Scott Henrikson
Editing Company: Cut + Run, Santa Monica, Calif.
Editor: Jay Nelson
Assistant Editors: Dustin Zimmerman, Brooke Rupe
Senior Producer: Amburr Farls
Mix Company: Lime Studios, Santa Monica, Calif.
Audio Engineer: Mark Meyuhas
Audio Engineer Assistant: Matt Miller
Executive Integrated Producer, Music, Talent, Public Works: Bill Meadows
Integrated Music Producer: Chip Herter
Postproduction Company: The Mill, Los Angeles
Executive Producer: Jo Arghiris
Producer: Anastasia Von Rahl
Senior Flame Compositor: Tim Bird
Flame Compositor: Jake Maymudes
Telecine Executive Producer: Larue Anderson
Telecine, Colorist: Adam Scott
Account Director: Evan Russack
Management Supervisor: Laura Likos
Content Supervisor: Cara Finkbeiner
Content Managers: Jessica Cohen, Madison Morris
Business Affairs Manager: Natalie Greenman
Group Director, Planning: Jason De Turris
Traffic Managers: Kelton Wright, Alex Blumfelder
Sound Design: Stephen Dewey, Machine Head; Mark Meyuhas, Lime Studio