Ok. Here is the "other side" of the X07 story..... let's call it X07 "unplugged". In 10 years at Microsoft, I have been a part of a lot of events. There is one rule I have learned - things can go wrong. The problem is, you can't always plan for every possibility and that is why when the hydro lines outside the venue failed X07 became "X07 Unplugged" .
First, I'd like to say congratulations to the Xbox Canada team and to our PR firm High Road Communications for how they handled this unforeseen "wrinkle" in the day. Nobody panicked and I think all things considered X07 remained a success.
Here is what happened:
About mid-afternoon things were going really well. The event looked great, all of the press were there and things were just rocking.
That's when "it" happened. The reports vary - from a car hitting the utility pole to the power line simply burning out - but for whatever reason we were let down by the infrastructure of the area. The power went down and in the process several dozen LCD TVs and Xbox 360s made a very weird noise as the power drained out of them all at once. At first everyone thought we tripped a breaker, but it became clear quickly that we were not the source of the trouble.
Toronto Hydro sprung into action:
What started as an estimate of "less than 30 minutes" grew to be a "several hour" repair. Now, running a video game event in the dark is difficult to say the least. You can only pantomime the actions in Halo 3 for so long before people get bored. ( "like, ok, so now you jump up and down...then there is an explosion.... it's wicked... trust me" )
The event team acted quickly and ordered up a diesel generator. While this couldn't power the entire building, they were able to get at least 3/4 of the stations back up and running (albeit in the dark..... candles did the rest)
With the lights out, the staff put out candles....which made the mood much more "romantic".....
(picture thanks to "thebruce0" on flickr)
Some people still had wifi coverage and did some "live reporting" during the blackout......this is from This Week In Geek