Xbox’s Aaron Greenberg Talks Backwards Compatibility, Sony’s E3, Windows 10 Gaming and Phantom Dust
Microsoft had a very strong showing at E3, and one of the men behind that effort is First and Third Party Marketing Head Aaron Greenberg. Today he gave quite a lot of info on what we saw and on where Xbox is heading in an interview on Gamertag Radio.
First of all, he talked about what’s going on with Phantom Dust:
“It’s been a passion project for Phil and the team. We’re exploring what we’re going to do with Phantom Dust. The project is not cancelled. We don’t have an active developer on it right now but it’s a project that, like many things, will take a little more time, but at this point we’re not giving any more updates on it.”
Secondly, he clarified Microsoft’s position on the relationship between Xbox and Windows:
“We’re trying to build the best platform for gamers, and the beauty of this is that our architecture is all built on windows. Xbox is built on Windows infrastructure, we have the new OS that we’re giving as a free upgrade and we expect a billion people to upgrade to Windows 10, so we think we’re going to build a huge platform for gamers.”
“Windows is a very long term investment that we think a lot of people will use on a massive scale. That’s how we think broadly about that ecosystem and we innovate about both, And ultimately from a gaming standpoint we think we have a real opportunity to bring gamers together.”
Greenberg also mentioned that we’ll hear more about this at Gamescom.
After that, we also hear the reasoning behind the newly announced elite controller’s price point:
“It is primarily for professional gamers, and so its really a high end controller. It is not built for mass market. We have a mass market controller today that is $69 and isvery affordable. But if you want a high end controller, we’re giving you the choice. We went off and built the ‘Ferrari of controllers’ and so that was the idea, we’re not expecting everyone to buy this.”
“It is the price of two controllers, with that said, If you look at what people are doing today in this space, this controller with the switchable knobs and the customization, built from the ground up built as a pro controller is delivering a lot more functionality than anything you’re getting at that price point today. I think we’re delivering on value for pro gamers and what they’re expecting to get.”
Sony also delivered a quite smashing press conference, and Greenberg was asked to comment on the competition’s performance:
“Sony in particular, i think they had a good show. They focused on fan-favorite games. They have a different type of lineup than we do this year. I though they had some games I’m definitely looking forward to. I thought Uncharted looked great. Its exciting to see everyone bring their games. Bring some surprises. At the end of the day, we do sort of have like a scorecard and sort of say say “how many games did we show, how many did they show.”
“What was interesting is both of us showed 25 games, we both showed eleven exclusive games, we shown seven exclusives coming this holiday and, at least from our count, we didn’t see any of their exclusives games confirmed for this year. So I think that’s really the big difference: we’re focused on delivering the big exclusives, whether it’s Halo 5, Tomb Raider, Forza, Fable, RareReplay, Gigantic, all these games are coming exclusively this holiday, so hopefully that with backwards compatibility, we’re going to deliver for our fans, and get a lot of those Xbox 360 owners to migrate that have been maybe waiting for the new Gears or maybe waiting for a new Halo, or waiting for backwards compatibility. We expect millions of those gamers that are gonna move over this holidays.”
Lastly, he also talked about one of the highlights of the show: backwards compatibility:
“With the architecture design, this is something we didn’t think we were able to do. But we have some of the best and brightest software engineers in the world working at Microsoft and they went off and spent a lot of time trying to emulate this. So what they’ve been able to do – which is an amazing breakthrough – is it runs an Xbox 360 in full emulation on the Xbox One, so the games actually think they’re on an Xbox 360. And that’s brilliant for a lot of reasons:
One Developers don’t have to do any work for their games to be enabled. If you remember with 360, backward compatibility we actually had to touch a lot of the games. And the other reason is that you’re able to chat with people on 360. And it runs within Xbox One, so you can do screenshots, you can do all that.”
“What that means is that we’re going to have a hundred games this holiday, then we’ll have hundreds more in a matter of months. You’re going to see the ramp up of those titles really fast. We want people that invested in these games on the 360, whether its digital or on disk, to be able to play these games.”
Greenberg definitely had a lot of good points to share, and if you’re curious to hear more, you should definitely listen to the full interview.