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Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg

Interview: The Xbox product boss talks X10, PS3 and Natal...

Every game Microsoft showed off at its X10 event in San Francisco last week was a platform exclusive.

From Halo: Reach to Alan Wake; Splinter Cell: Conviction to Perfect Dark XBLA, the message was clear: 'This entertainment is ours and ours only.'

CVG caught up with Xbox product director Aaron Greenberg to ask him more...

X10 featured a pretty impressive line-up of games, considering you're obviously holding some stuff back for E3. Do you feel Xbox is unique in the respect of having this strength of line-up before the biggest show of the year?
We haven't done this kind of showcase this early in the year before. I think the fact that we're showing what many people see as an E3-quality game line-up in early February, is reflective of the type of year we expect to have.

Zoom

We said at CES at the start of the year that 2010 will be the biggest year in the history of Xbox. We didn't want to just say it, we wanted to back it up the fact you're here and we've got Splinter Cell: Conviction, we've got Alan Wake, we've got Crackdown 2 ,we've got Fable III, we've even got Halo: Reach - these are all being shown and it's only February.

These all exclusive, triple-A titles which will sell millions of units. I think it's a pretty good sign we're going to have a huge year. That, by the way, is just a glimpse of what we have for the full year, we'll have more at E3, more at the holiday. It's going to be a huge year, for sure.

When you compare your exclusives to what PS3 has - over and above God Of War III - how would you place your announced triple-A titles?
If you're a gamer and you're interested in core blockbuster titles, there's no other platform that offers more titles, or offers more exclusives. Honestly, there's going to be great games on the PS3 and we respect that. But our goal is to have the most blockbuster titles and the most exclusives. And I think we clearly have that this year.

This is going to be a big year for us - not just for core games, but what we're going to do with Xbox Live, being able to bring Project Natal to market this holiday. It's truly an exciting year.

Is the strength of your 'exclusive' boast reduced by the fact that these games might come out on PC too?
I can't think of any Xbox exclusives we're showing here that are on PC as well. For example, Crackdown, Alan Wake, Halo Reach, Fable III - all these titles have been signed primarily, if not only, for console.

The fact that some of our titles end do up on the PC I don't think it impacts us that much. We still have a larger number of exclusives on our console.

What drives you to make something like Alan Wake or Fable non-PC?
I think that's more of a business thing. It's like what's the cost of having a team dedicated to making that on the PC [versus] how many units will you sell?

There's no [idea] like: We're not doing it because we want the exclusive only on Xbox. We do have resources - a certain number of people [versus] how many people can work on a game across multiple platforms. But [other than that] trade-off, there are no other real motives.

Why did you decide to cut off Xbox Live on the original Xbox console?
We gave it a lot of thought... We knew that Halo 2, for example, was one of the first titles that many people had played multiplayer online.

But we're at that point now where that community has largely transitioned off and onto Xbox 360. And now, by discontinuing that support we're able to actually add more functionality into Xbox Live on Xbox 360. Not having to think about the legacy of Xbox Live on Xbox One means we're able to optimise and roll out a new set of features to the market.

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