(11 Jul 2019) LEAD IN
Computer giant, Microsoft, has opened its first European flagship store in Central London.
From a gaming lounge to free workshops, the Microsoft store offers customers a hands-on experience.
With great anticipation the crowds queued around London's Oxford Circus for the opening of Microsoft's new flagship store.
Located only a few meters from the huge Apple outlet on Regent Street, this 21,932 square-foot tech shoppers' paradise spans across four floors showcasing the latest Microsoft products.
For Microsoft enthusiast, Godwin Gyeabour, the prospect of being able to get help in person is a major draw:
"Of course it's better to have a store especially when with breakdowns. When a product breakdown you want to be able to go to a store and to talk to someone about it."
Alongside the launch of the store, Microsoft has announced a £1 million pound community grant.
Cindy Helen Rose OBE, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK, says the company has partnered with three charities - UK Youth, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the London Community Foundation - to help provide digital learning opportunities for young people.
"As technology advances no one is left behind and we give all young people in the next generation in this country the digital skills they need," she explains.
At 11 a.m (UK local time), Rose and Chris Capossella, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer cut the ribbon, officially opening the store.
Along with an 'Answer Desk' to assist with any technical questions, repairs or services, the outlet will also feature a range of experiences including a community theatre for customers to learn digital skills like coding for free, a gaming lounge to trial Xbox and PC games and a mixed reality experience that transports customers to Oxford Circus in the 1800s.
Against one digital backdrop in the store, customers can take selfies next to iconic London landmarks.
In the UK, Microsoft employees some 5000 people. And this store alone will hire 150 employees.
Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Capossella says he's confident that this store is going to be a success.
"Just the fact that 86 million people come through Oxford Circus every year, plus the fact that London is such a global centre for commerce for visitors. This is the most accessible store we've ever opened. The employees here speak 45 different languages from Arabic to Urdu including British Sign Language. We're pretty confident that we're going to be here for the long term."
On the second floor is the gaming lounge that includes a Thronos Predator gaming chair that allows customers to have an immersive gaming experience.
Visitor, Ian Bradley explains, " I've come up to London from Gloucester for the day with my son. He's a gamer. So he's had a good go on different games so it's good."
On the fourth floor, Microsoft Xbox is letting gamers get hands-on with its upcoming streaming service, codenamed "Project xCloud".
Xbox has announced gamers would be able to preview the service from October, streaming games from their Xbox One console to other mobile devices.
The games are stored online at Microsoft's data centres. Players can pick up where they left off on several different devices.
On the ground floor, the centrepiece is a McLaren Senna supercar.
It has been modified to be a simulator so customers can play the video game Forza Motorsport 7 - Microsoft's game developed for Xbox One console.
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