What do you think when you hear the phrase Chief of Staff? A man with a steely gaze and sharp suit stalking through the corridors of the White House? Or a man in a crumpled check shirt talking about why his magic camera is better than a light-up ping pong ball?
If it's the latter you're probably thinking about Aaron Greenberg, Chief of Staff for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, Don't You Know. He's more informally known as Microsoft's mouthpiece, always on-hand to provide a smart and occasionally controversial soundbite.
With the launch of magic camera Kinect just a few weeks away, Eurogamer sat down with Greenberg for a chat. Read on to find out how excited he is about the launch, what he thinks about PlayStation Move and whether he'd bet us a tenner that Call of Duty will outsell Halo: Reach.
Eurogamer: We're coming up to the launch of Kinect. How important are the review scores those initial titles get?
Aaron Greenberg: I don't know. For us, these are different types of titles and experiences than maybe some of the games traditionally that are targeted to the core market. So the correlation between a review score for Halo: Reach and sales is very high, but Kinect Sports is more about just having fun.
I don't know how reviewers will grade those games because they're so unique and so different to what the reviewers have played with controllers. We'd love to see great reviews but I don't think you'll see the same type of correlation between reviews and actual sales of the game, would be my guess.
Eurogamer: You sound like you're a bit nervous about what the specialist media will think of the games, but confident Kinect will still sell well...
Aaron Greenberg: I'm not nervous. I know what the media thinks; we know they love Dance Central, we've heard they think it's the killer app. They're excited about Child of Eden. We've even had a lot of good feedback for Kinectimals from the core.
We also know that they're going to be spending a lot of money on Halo: Reach, Fable III and Call of Duty this holiday. That's a lot of great product for them to choose from.
Eurogamer: Don Mattress has been quoted as saying Kinect will sell three million this Christmas. What do you think it will sell this financial year?
Aaron Greenberg: We haven't given any projections beyond this holiday, but this will be the largest launch we've ever had as a business. We'll definitely sell more sensors than the Wii sold when it launched or the Xbox 360 sold when it launched.
We feel safe we'll do three million this holiday, which puts us in pretty high territory for even a consumer electronics product.
Eurogamer: Microsoft took centre stage for this year's Tokyo Game Show keynote... How was it for you?
Aaron Greenberg: It was an honour. I think it speaks to how much content we're now getting from Japanese creators, both first- and third-party. We don't get to do the keynote every year, but this year felt like the right year to do it.
Eurogamer: So you think this is it? This is the year you might finally sell more than 12 Xboxes in Japan?
Aaron Greenberg: We've actually sold almost 1.5 million. How 'bout that?
Eurogamer: That is more than 12.
Aaron Greenberg: That is a little more, give or take...
Eurogamer: The Kinect games unveiled at TGS seemed to be more hardcore in tone. Are we likely to see any similarly hardcore Kinect titles from Western developers?
Aaron Greenberg: All of the leading developers around the world have sensors and have dev kits. We really leave it in the hands of the devs.
What's great about Japan is there are developers who have a great history of making really core games. Think about Inafune-san and Suda51 - these guys have come to us and said, 'Hey, I want to make a Kinect title, I really think I can do something innovative.' And they absolutely are going to make games we think gamers will love. We expect to see more support from developers of all types globally.
Eurogamer: One of the games unveiled was a Kinect version of Steel Battalion. One of our readers has asked, how is that going to work? That controller was so complicated, how on earth is it going to work with Kinect?
Aaron Greenberg: Yeah.
Eurogamer: [Pause] How on earth is it going to work with Kinect?
Aaron Greenberg: That's a great question for Inafune-san...
What's great with Kinect is, you don't need to make the $200 investment in a controller for one game, right? Once you own the sensor there's nothing else to buy. The original Steel Battalion thing had about 40 buttons, which is very cool, but it didn't sell to as large of an audience as you would have wished because it was such a big investment.