Do you like solving overly complex puzzles? Are you in the market for a free Xbox One? Do you live in the United Kingdom, or can you at least fake a convincing cockney accent? If you answered, “yes”, “yes”, and “cor blimey, gov’, that’s the dog’s bollocks, it is,” then congratulations! Not only is that mild stroke you appear to have suffered fully treatable, but Microsoft is currently running a mysterious contest open to UK residents that can land a lucky and clever individual a free Xbox One, among other prizes.
One very observant Reddit user managed to notice some strange graphical glitches in the typical Invitation advertisement and posted it to the gaming subforum. Reddit users, being a perfect combination of absolute geniuses and obsessive psychopaths managed to crack the ad very quickly and found a treasure trove of hidden information. Seriously. Look through this thread. How often are you in a gaming forum and you find phrases like “I’m not sure if you decoded the binary” and “I went through the ad frame by frame and found the following: There is a separate ciphered code in the ad” thrown around this casually? Most of the time when I’m in a gaming forum, at least three different individuals are questioning my sexual orientation and susceptibility to head injuries because I purchased the wrong system. It is kind of cool to see everyone on the forums come together and try to figure this out, with different people kicking in little bits of information.
The end result is very intriguing. The whole thing hasn’t been puzzled out yet, but what has points to a contest Microsoft has set up on the sneaky sneak. The binary code hidden in the ad lead users to this site, which details the rules of the mysterious “Glitch contest”, the prizes of which includes consoles, “Xbox items” (games maybe?), artwork, and more. How can you win these fabulous prizes? Well, according to the website:
“An entry is qualified by the following: the entrant must complete the pre-determined steps that form a path with a dedicated start and end point. These have been created by parties working with Microsoft. This will involve numerous code-breaking and puzzle-solving activities that progress a consumer through a logical journey. Multiple journey paths have been created, each culminating in the opportunity to gain access to a prize. Participants of journey paths which offer physical prizes shall be required to further submit personal information securely at later stages should they successfully reach the final stages of such journey paths before any other participant. The submission of such personal information is to enable prize fulfilment and will include, but will not be limited to the user’s name, address and email address.”
Looks like it’s time to put on your sleuthing hat and follow the breadcrumbs Microsoft has left you. Unfortunately, us bloody yanks are going to miss out on all the fun as we simply aren’t eligible. That is the only reason I am not entering, and not because I am unable to solve any puzzle that requires an understanding of binary and thinking too hard makes my brain cry. Check out the video below to see a recording of the ad in question, and good luck landing the big prize.