Christmas morning. You’ve opened all your gifts. New socks. A button-up. Some hand-stitched something-or-other from Grandma. But then, Dad comes downstairs. He’s holding it. One more gift. The last gift. The last chance. Could it be? You take it. Rip off the wrapping. It is.
A brand new Xbox.
You can’t believe it. It’s really here. In your hands. After all this time waiting. It’s yours. You open the box. Pull out the console. Rub it all over your body. Finally, you can go to school smelling like a gamer.
Oh wait, that’s not what you — or literally anyone else in the entire world — did with your Xbox? Well, don’t tell Microsoft that, because they’re partnering with a fragrance company called Lynx to make a deodorant that smells like Xbox. Why would they do that? What do gamers smell like? And what other video game fragrances could be next?
And man, that original Xbox was something else. It had these giant pound of ham-sized controllers, a built-in hard drive, and Halo: Combat Evolved, a video game purchased by 99 percent of Xbox owners.
Sony was already entrenched in video games by that time, having just launched the Playstation 2 a year before. That means that, unlike Microsoft, Sony had already gone through the kind of oversights you make when you launch a video game console (like, say, putting out controllers without analogue sticks).
But neither Microsoft nor Sony could hold a candle to Nintendo, who released the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, way back in 1983. They were putting out all-time bangers like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda when Microsoft executives were still in high school.
Mind share is a real thing in business. In 2001, when people thought about “video games,” they thought about Playstation and Nintendo. To get noticed, Microsoft had to scream about Xbox from the rooftops (metaphorically — actually screaming from the rooftops would only make Xbox known to the people walking down the street at the time they were screaming).
And while that is a pretty nutso thing that really happened, it does make a sort of sense. Doesn’t it seem like the Venn diagram between “wrestling fans” and “video game fans” is just one single circle?
And they named their third console the Xbox One.
The second Xbox was called the Xbox 360, presumably so Microsoft wouldn’t appear to have a numbers disadvantage by putting out the Xbox 2 to compete with the Playstation 3. So why compete against the Playstation 4 by going all the way down to one? That’s three behind!
Some companies are just a little kooky. Microsoft loves to take big wild swings, and most of the time, gamers are along for the ride. Microsoft gonna Microsoft, as it were.
Okay, I take that back. Obviously, we should be surprised they’re putting out a deodorant. I don’t care what bananas-ass shit Microsoft’s done in the past. Deodorant is insane in any context.
Microsoft needed a partner in this venture, because — and you might be shocked to hear this — this video game company doesn’t have a ton of experience making smells.
Set to release in New Zealand and Australia, there is still no word as to whether or not the deodorant will come to the United States. (Fingers crossed!)
Are there just a bunch of weirdos sitting in product meetings throwing out nonsense to see what sticks? “Xbox deodorant!” “Xbox floor cleaner!” “Xbox Easter candy!” “Xbox yoga mats!” “Xbox birth control!” “Xbox adult Crypt Keeper costumes!”
According to an official release (by way of GameSpot), Tania Chee, head of Xbox ANZ, said, “users can spray or wash themselves with Xbox Lynx to ‘power up’ before heading out the door in the morning.” This is insane because literally the only video games that use the phrase “power up” are Mario games. Mario is not on Xbox.
First up, the traditional roll-on deodorant. This is your bread-and-butter stink repellent. In video game terms, it’s the sword from Zelda — the first key item you need to find if you want to even begin your quest. (And in this case, your quest is to smell nice.)
Body sprays are generally more supplement than actual odor-fighter. Sure, they can be effective, but you don’t want it to be your only weapon against stink. Again, in video game terms, body spray is the plasma grenade to deodorant’s assault rifle.
And finally, the shower gel. No word yet on if using all three products gives you a bonus modifier like in Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
I love that “new controller smell”. It’s wonderful to pop open that box, slide out the packaging, and give that beautiful and pristine hunk of plastic a big ol’ whiff.
What will other people think if you smell like a new electronic? Personally, I’ve never smelled anyone who did, but my first thought is that I would assume they were a clone fresh out of the clone factory.
Microsoft said in their official release that it is, “a fresh scent of pulsing green citrus, featuring top notes of kaffir lime and winter lemon, aromatic herbal middle notes of mint and sage, and woody bottom notes of patchouli and clearwood.”
Green has always been Xbox’s main color. I suppose that, when the Xbox team was tasked with figuring out what an Xbox deodorant would smell like, the logical choice would be green ingredients. Ignore the fact that if Xbox were making logical choices, they wouldn’t be making a deodorant in the first place.
I had to google what “patchouli” was, and believe me, so too did every self-respecting gamer. (We gamers have space in our brains for either the layout of the Raccoon Police Department from Resident Evil 2 or the names of specific herbs. Not both.)
Let’s not pretend Sony isn’t weird enough to try making a deodorant too, okay?
If I had to guess, I’d say the Xbox scent will be a little grungy; sort of pungent — the way you smell after a weekend inside with Gears of War 4. The Playstation scent would be crisp and fresh, the way you smell after you finish a beautiful art house-worthy experience like Journey and walk outside to contemplate the beauty that is being alive.
Because Nintendo games start out incredibly sweet but get very challenging later on, their deodorant would smell like lollipops and sweat. Also, that is officially the worst smell I can imagine.
So what could have possibly inspired Microsoft to make a deodorant? The answer, unfortunately, is the smell of gaming.
It’s time to address the elephant in the room — a lot of video game players smell bad. And I say that with no shade! Some of the best weekends of my life have been spent skipping showers to keep playing the new God of War. But if I’m forcing myself to figure out why Microsoft would take this step, well, that’s the only reason I can come up with.
The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3, starts this week, with Microsoft holding its high profile Xbox press conference on Sunday, June 9th. And it’s expected to be a big one.
There are so many more important things Microsoft could be working on.
Microsoft will be showing off its next-generation Xbox, as well as showing off the upcoming Gears of War 5 and demoing its potentially revolutionary xCloud streaming service. That feels like a lot to focus on without taking their eye off the ball to make shower gels.
Xbox was ahead of the game when it came to playing console games online, as their Xbox Live service launched back in 2004. A lot of gamers thought nobody would care enough about playing online to pay for such a service. And now, everyone who owns an Xbox One pays 9.99 a month (mostly because they set up auto-pay a long time ago and don’t know how to turn it off).
In a play to become the Netflix for games, Xbox recently launched Xbox Game Pass, a service that charges 9.99 a month for access to a library of over 100 games. It’s incredibly forward-looking… even though Netflix has been around for almost a decade now and it’s actually pretty insane that Xbox is the only console doing this.
How could we forget about Halo? When you list reasons Xbox is what it is, taking a risk on little-known developer Bungie’s brand new sci-fi franchise has to be at the top of the list. Without Halo, the first Xbox would have failed faster than the Ouya. (Oh, you don’t know what the Ouya is? Exactly.)
There are more potential smells in video games than just “Xbox.” A candle shaped like one of the red barrels that always explode when you shoot them, no matter the game, would smell sharp, exciting. Red barrels are danger incarnate, and their scent would reflect that.
A Super Mario aftershave could be nice if you’re planning on shaving off your signature mustache. I’m picturing it smelling like mushrooms.
Ooh, this is the one I want — a fragrance capturing the musk a man can only produce when he is simultaneously furious, grieving, and struggling to connect with his boy? Sounds to me like a perfect Father’s Day present.