Microsoft is coming in strong over the next year with its Xbox hardware, and Head of Xbox Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg talked more about it during an interview on the TXR Podcast.
Greenberg mentioned that releasing new hardware like the Xbox One S takes a long lead time. You have to make decisions far in advance about components and design. The team thought about when it made sense to bring a new model that would bring benefits and enhancements to the fans.
They knew that they could make it smaller, but they knew that they needed to have more than that. A lot has changed in the TV market since the original launch of the Xbox One, with 4k TVs becoming more mainstream. According to Greenberg the ability to bring a 4K Blu-Ray player and 4K video streaming on top on upscaling games to 4K is a great benefit.
The response has been “great” and some retailers initially sold out. Considering pre-orders, Microsoft things the console will be in high demand and retailer feedback from E3 was “very very strong.” During the Holidays a lot of TVs will be sold, and Microsoft expects a lot of people to also upgrade to the Xbox One S.
Greenberg also talked about Project Scorpio, mentioning that it’s a “really exciting project” and that the team is working really hard on it. There already is a lot of support from development partners and internal studios. According to Greenberg, Microsoft is “really serious” about delivering true 4K gaming, and they think that it’s a “huge opportunity.” While it will require a lot of power, they’re building a “beast.”
With the work on Project Scorpio, Greenberg thinks that “the swagger is back,” and the team is on its front foot, and Microsoft is “leading” and “driving.”
When Greenberg goes to meetings and when the teams talk, he can see that people are really fired up and excited about what Microsoft is doing, including the Play Anywhere initiative and more. There’s still a lot of work to do, so there’s still “a lot of humility” and “a lot of hunger,” but morale has “definitely never been higher.”
Greenberg also mentioned that Microsoft hasn’t gone into details on things like trade up deals for Project Scorpio. At this point they’re focused on getting developer and industry support and on letting the fans know what they’re doing. The focus is on delivering a beast, having great games and a great relationship with partners, and on having a console that can deliver true 4k games and a high-end VR experience.
According to Greenberg Microsoft has a great leadership team and a great hardware team, and they’re working in unison. When that happens, you can do “pretty amazing things.” Over the enxt year they’ll probably figure out “more amazing things to make it even better,” but those will be shared down the line.
Incidentally, Greenberg was asked about his opinion on Pokémon Go, and he mentioned that it’s awesome to see a game capture so many people’s attention. The stories about it are “insane.” The Pokémon franchise has so many fans that you can’t really underestimate its power. What they did on it is “incredible,” creating a really compelling and fun gaming experience that is “super-approachable no matter if you’re a core gamer or not, and is creating fun social dynamics.
Now the key will be to see how people will learn from the game’s success, and Microsoft is definitely thinking about that as well. HoloLens is a great example of a product built on taking real world augmenting it with holograms. According to Greenberg the augmented reality application on gaming and on a lot of other things has a lot of potential, and it’s great to see somebody “lighting the world on fire” with it. He’s “very, very excited” to see what the HoloLens team will do with that.