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Aaron Greenberg: E3 Interview

Xbox's Group Product Manager spills all on Live Anywhere, that E3 games line-up and MS plans for 360 online!

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All those games push Xbox Live features strongly. How important is Live to Xbox 360 when Sony and Nintendo are only just entering that side of the market?

Aaron Greenberg: From the very beginning we've positioned online as the key differentiator for us. It's hugely important for us and we're going to continue to innovate online. We've just announced that we're going to double the number of Xbox Live users by this time next year to 6 million members. Then Live Anywhere and the vision of connecting your Xbox 360 to your mobile phone and your PC really builds on that. Even later this month we have a new Live update going out with some new features that gamers will be really excited about. We're always online, every game, all the time, and we're not sure what the competition are going to do to beat us.

Can you give us some more details about the Live update?

Aaron Greenberg: We haven't announced too many of the new features yet but I can tell you that we'll be improving Marketplace to make it a little easier to find your content. Marketplace has taken off in a big way. We've just hit 10 million downloads so it's important to make finding your content easier and make downloading it faster. Xbox Live Arcade is a big part of that story too. We announced new content coming from Konami, Namco, Midway and Sega. All those companies are opening their vaults so you can get access to all your favourite arcade games like Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Rally X, Frogger, Contra, Track and Field and even the original Sonic.

There's been some criticism floating around recently that the Xbox 360 line-up running up to Christmas isn't that strong. How would you react to that?

Aaron Greenberg: The fact that we're going to have 160 titles in the market before Sony releases a single game really says a lot about our line-up. We had a great launch line-up - some say the best in history - and the second generation games look fantastic. Gears of War is going to be a killer, killer title for Christmas and Forza 2's going to be huge. And if you think of all the sports titles like Madden, FIFA, Pro Evo Soccer and NBA, the only place to play those games on next-gen when the season starts will be Xbox 360. So I think there's lots of good stuff out there for real gamers
Let's talk Halo 3. We were all hoping for the Halo 3 trailer but you managed to keep it pretty quiet before the conference. What was going on behind the scenes in the weeks before the conference? Did you know it would be there?

Aaron Greenberg: That was the plan! The guys at Bungie are world class and in my opinion that was the best game trailer I've ever seen. It sent shivers up and down my spine. It shows why they're so good at what they do. People are still playing Halo 2, it's still one of our top played games on Xbox 360, so I think for Halo 3 to complete the trilogy and allow players to finish the fight is really exciting.

So the release date is 2007?

Aaron Greenberg: Yup, 2007. [Expectant pause...] That's all we're announcing right now! This is the Star Wars of videogames so it'll be ready when Bungie decide, and that'll be next year!

Gears of War had another great showing this year, with most people picking it as the Xbox 360 game of the show for the second year running. How much influence do you think it'll have on console sales when it's released?

Aaron Greenberg: For us it's all about getting the consoles into the marketplace and then concentrating on the games to satisfy those Xbox 360 owners. For us to have a game like Gears of War to showcase our second wave of game titles is unbelievable. The guys at Epic are awesome, the game's exclusive to Xbox 360 and there are a lot of great Xbox Live features built into the game, so it's definitely going to keep the hardcore gamers happy.

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