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Xbox: 'Our best Christmas line-up in years'

UK boss Stephen McGill on Kinect, Christmas and beyond

UK marketing boss, Stephen McGill reckons Xbox 360 is about to enjoy its best Christmas line-up in years.

Halo Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fable III and FIFA 11 form the core festive explosion on the platform, but potentially the most popular 2010 stocking-stuffer is its innovative mainstream Trojan, Kinect for Xbox 360.

We grabbed five minutes with McGill at the London Kinect launch event this week. Here's what he had to say on Christmas, Kinect and beyond...

How does it feel to finally release Kinect?

Zoom

It's amazing. It's wonderful to be able to finally get this into the hands of consumers from a retailer point of view. Obviously this week is incredibly busy for retail with Call of Duty: Black Ops yesterday - obviously everyone knows the best place to play that is on Xbox 360 with the exclusive content we're getting - and then tonight is all about Kinect.

We've got a great line-up of games, there's an amazing line-up of entertainment experiences there. It's a little bit strange this one though because normally when you do a midnight opening it's the first time consumers get the time to play this stuff, where as with Kinect we've been on tour with this since straight after E3 all over the UK and Ireland.

So we've already started getting the reaction from consumers where you just put them in front of Kinect and they go and play. It's a magical, natural experience that people are having fun with - but it will be lovely tonight to see that first hour and the queue outside. Obviously 500 stores are being opened across the country at midnight ready to satisfy this demand. It's great.

Kinect's been out in the US for almost a week now. What have you learned from the reaction in the States?

It's told us they sold out very quickly! Lots of the retailers out there reported an immediate sell out and we're not expecting anything different here.

Lots of the retailers closed their pre-orders a good few weeks ago for launch night allocations and obviously the responsibility for us now is just to keep on replenishing that stock.

We're manufacturing 24 hours a day, seven days a week - lots of planes, boats and trucks are planned and lined up ready to get regular replenishment stock out there. I think a lot of people are going to be enjoying this for Christmas this year.

What did the US launch tell you about the sort of people who are buying Kinect - the early adopters?

Zoom

I think it's been a whole mixed bag. Obviously we've got people coming to Xbox 360 for the very first time, new broader audiences, more family audiences... but there have been a lot of core gamers out there and one of the things we've started seeing over the last few weeks with the core gamers is there is something for everyone.

Games like Kinect Sports, while they are incredibly accessible, there's a lot of depth to those games. Something like Dance Central... no-one will tell you that with their heritage - Rock Band and Guitar Hero - that it's not the sort of genre that will expand core audiences, and I think Dance Central is going to be the same.

And we've got some great entertainment services on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live that become even better with Kinect. So I think there's something for everyone. Obviously we've got a great line-up of games for gamers - things like Halo Reach, Fable III, Call of Duty and FIFA - for this Christmas. We haven't had a better line-up in years for Xbox 360 or any platform.

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