While many launch parties may be the same old thing over and over, Microsoft has definitely decided that they would make things more interesting. For the Gears of War 3 launch, the Microsoft Store in Fashion Valley, San Diego decided that they would have a 2v2 tournament coupled with a ton of possible prizes including a raffle for loads of memorabilia or even winning a fully decked out Xbox 360 Gears of War 3 edition.


Gears of War 3 Pre-oder pickup line at the Microsoft Store in San Diego, CA

By simply being one of the first 100 people in line, you qualified for a swag bag that contained a Gears of War 3 t-shirt, two lanyards, and a poster. In addition to this, The Microsoft Store also gave away additional embossed posters to those same first 100 people. Once those were all given out, Microsoft made sure to hook it up with the tournament where gamers could win 4000 Microsoft Game Points for 3rd place, A Gears of War 3 Xbox controller for 2nd place, and an Xbox 360 Gears of War edition for 1st place.

The grand prizes for the midnight Gears of War 3 tournament
The grand prizes for the midnight Gears of War 3 tournament

The Microsoft Store avoided telling anyone what 1st place was up until the very end even though almost everyone could’ve guessed it considering past tournaments resulted in the same prize.

BSN's Anshel Sag playing Gears of War 3 in the Microsoft Store
BSN’s Anshel Sag playing Gears of War 3 in the Microsoft Store

The winning and prizes did not end there, though. Microsoft has created an extremely brilliant scheme to reward gamers for pre-ordering games as well as just showing up to these midnight launch parties. First of all, if you pre-order a game more than 48hrs before the launch you are qualified for a $25 gift card per game. There are 4 games in total that qualify for this promotion. Those games are Gears of War 3, Battlefield 3, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary and Modern Warfare 3. If you had pre-ordered all 4 of them, though, you could have qualified for $125 in gift cards not just $100.

Our ocassional contributor Addy Garg and Chaunzay Horne playing in the Tournament of Gears of War 3 
Our ocassional contributor Addy Garg and Chaunzay Horne playing in the Tournament of Gears of War 3

In addition to that sweet promotion, any gamer that attends any of the 4 midnight launch parties has an opportunity to be credited $25 towards anything in the Microsoft Store. This means that gamers have an opportunity to earn $100 towards anything inside the Microsoft Store by attending these parties. The players are given a lanyard with a bar code and they must bring that lanyard with them in order to be given credit for each launch party. The only caveat of this promotion is the fact that the credit earned by attending these launch parties can only be redeemed after the 4th launch party is over. After that, the store credit is effective and can be spent on anything in-store.

Microsoft VIP Launch Gamer Tags
Microsoft VIP Launch Gamer Tags – get them scanned four times for a hefty discount

Needless to say, if you were a really hardcore gamer looking to score yourself a sweet deal you could easily save up to $225 off anything in the Microsoft store. If you were to take advantage of all of these savings, you could in effect purchase 4 future games for what in effect would result in being $15 without taxes.

We were extremely excited to play Gears of War 3 and as you can see from our photographs and videos, so were many of these gamers. Gears of War 3 is an extremely fun and addictive game that is visually stunning and extremely riveting at times. We highly recommend checking it out.