World’s First Xbox One Guarded by Sharks in New Zealand; Shark Expert Questions Effectiveness

Photoillustration by Matt Connolly

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


The Xbox One—Microsoft’s latest video game console and successor to the Xbox 360—goes on sale at midnight on November 22. It will face-off against Sony’s new PlayStation 4 in the holiday-season spending sprees. People love their video games, and global anticipation is sky-high for both consoles. Xbox celebrations across the globe will include zombies and Roman soldiers occupying Times Square, for instance. But the most interesting way Microsoft is exploiting the anticipation is through a publicity stunt that involves sharks.

At midnight on the appointed night, the world’s first official Xbox One will be handed to one lucky person in New Zealand. That console is currently on lockdown at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium in Auckland, NZ—where it rests in a waterproof container in a tank filled with 20 sand tiger sharks.

For footage of aquarium personnel and Xbox guys setting this up, click here.

As a stunt, the idea makes sense. Sharks have a special place and reputation in popular culture as the ultimate aquatic killing machines in the natural world. But in real life, sharks rarely hurt people, and you are more likely to get maimed by your own toilet than by a scary shark. So how effective would these guardian sharks be if an Xbox enthusiast dove into the tank in an insane attempt to steal the coveted console?

“I wouldn’t recommend falling/diving into a shark exhibit, mainly because the sharks may get startled and injure themselves by swimming into walls.”

“You would have nothing to worry about if you fell into a tank of sand tiger sharks—they are rather docile,” explains Carl Meyer, shark expert and assistant researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. “Even with [much bigger] tiger sharks, the most likely case scenario is that they would startle and bolt to the other side of the tank.”

Many big aquariums have sand tiger sharks on display because, while they may look frightening given their teeth and being sharks and all, they are relatively easy to keep in captivity. Meyer doesn’t recommend jumping into a shark tank to retrieve anything, even Xboxes. But it’s not humans’ safety that he’s worried about.

“I wouldn’t recommend falling/diving into a shark exhibit, mainly because the sharks may get startled and injure themselves by swimming into walls,” he says. “The odds of being bitten by a shark (or 20 sharks) in an exhibit are incredibly low if you are just entering the water. You could up the odds of getting bitten by poking and harassing the shark(s) in question, but they will still try to get away from you.”

We can only hope that the non-shark security at Sea Life Aquarium is better prepared to protect the console if someone tries to pull off a heist.

The aquarium and the Xbox publicity team did not respond to Mother Jones‘ requests for comment about sharks and Xboxes.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate