E3 2006 is slowly fading into history, but all of Microsoft's huge announcements are still burning holes in our brains. Gears of War and Forza Motorsport 2 look huge for this Christmas, and next year's Halo 3 and Fable 2 are causing our collective nipsy to twitch with excitement.
Topping all of these games like a massive dollop of cream is Live Anywhere, Microsoft's plan to take Xbox Live and connect it to your PC and your mobile phone - destroying any prospects of getting any work done and making us even more obsessive about our maxing out our Gamerscores.
With all these amazing announcements still ringing in our ears we sat down with Aaron Greenberg, the Product Manager for Xbox and Xbox Live, to ask questions and get it all talked out. If you want to see Live anywhere in action, have a quick trawl through our complete E3 video listing here, where the redoubtable Mr Greenberg demos it in person on a next-gen mobile phone!
First off, could you introduce yourself and tell us about your role on Xbox 360?
Aaron Greenberg: Sure. I'm Aaron Greenberg, and my job title is Group Product Manager for Xbox and Xbox Live. That means I do marketing and PR for the Xbox 360 platform and Xbox Live. I've been on Xbox for about six years, back when there were only about 20 people working on the console, so it's really exciting for me to see how well things are going for us in the next generation.
You've seen Xbox at a good few E3s then - how would you rate your showing this year against previous years?
Aaron Greenberg: This is my sixth E3 and I feel like it came together this year like no other. We knew Sony and Nintendo were going to be here with bright new shiny objects, but I think we really surprised people with our showing. We made some really big new announcements like Live Anywhere, which Bill Gates came out to introduce. His vision of connecting people by bringing the Xbox Live system to your mobile phone and PC, having one set of friends, one set of games, one Gamerscore, and being able to play your games and connect to your community any time, anywhere is an awesome vision. I think it's something only Microsoft can deliver on, so that's really exciting.
Xbox 360 was unveiled to the public last year, but Sony and Nintendo have yet to release their next-gen consoles. How much of an advantage does that headstart give you?
Aaron Greenberg: You're already seeing our second generation titles and that's a huge advantage. Take Gears of War. It's the talk of the show and you can already download the trailer on Marketplace, just like the Halo 3 trailer which is actually running using the in-game engine. We'll have 160 games available by this Christmas, and on the console front we'll have 10 million machines in people's houses before the competition even gets to market. I think that headstart coupled with a big library of titles makes a huge difference.
How do you think your conference measured up to Sony and Nintendo's?
Aaron Greenberg: It's all about two things this generation: high definition gaming and online gaming. The Xbox 360 delivers on both those points, so all we need to focus on now are the games. I think the Grand Theft Auto announcement is huge for Xbox 360 - the fact that the only place to play the two best-selling franchises from the last generation, Grand Theft Auto and Halo, will be Xbox 360 is amazing. And then there's the exclusive downloadable content for Grand Theft Auto. That's really exciting because we now have a really good relationship with Rockstar and we're looking forward to taking that further. This Christmas, I think Gears of War is going to be huge, Forza 2 looks great, and Viva Pinata is a really exciting franchise for the younger gamers and the broader audience. That's a game that will really surprise people when Rare brings it out.