It's finally here - the new peripheral we've all been waiting for. Well, some of us have been waiting for. And technically it's not a peripheral - it's a whole new platform, a brand new expanded multimedia entertainment experience which will revolutionise social interaction in exciting new ways and offer us new options for engaging with the home entertainment interactive experience in revolutionary and exciting new interactive ways.
That's right, we've been spending too much time with Microsoft. To be specific, with Stephen McGill, head of the UK Xbox business. We caught up with him just before the European launch of magic camera Kinect to find out what it's all about, what's in it for hardcore gamers and why he trusts shopkeepers over Sony.
Eurogamer: So here we are - Kinect is arriving in Europe. How confident are you that it really will revolutionise the entertainment whadjamacallit?
Steve McGill: On a scale of one to ten, 25.
Eurogamer: Why not 26?
Steve McGill: Because I can't be too extreme. I'm definitely a ten out of ten in terms of seeing people play Kinect for the first time - seeing their faces when they control the dashboard with their hands or their voice, see a ball and kick it with their feet...
The magic of their first experience of Kinect is phenomenal to watch. It's been mindblowing for us to watch people's reactions. It's going to be incredibly wonderful and revolutionary and extraordinarily magic.
Eurogamer: When you talk about people's reactions, are you talking about the mainstream audience you've shown Kinect to? What about hardcore gamers?
Steve McGill: Hardcore gamers is the label people put on people who follow gaming sites, who read E3 news and stuff. They're familiar with Xbox and Kinect and they have an opinion of Kinect. They at least know what it is.
So the trial tour's been predominantly focused on introducing Kinect to a broader audience. That said, the first people queuing up on that tour were the hardcore gamers. That wasn't a surprise.
Now people can see the whole package and see that it's cool technology. The key thing is it's something for everybody - Kinect appeals to all different types of people, casual and core gamers.
We announced some core games at Tokyo Game Show and we'll be showing more of them in the months ahead, but I think the games we've got for Kinect for launch and through Christmas will surprise people. Core gamers may not have expected some of these games to be as appealing as I know they're going to find them.
We have to make sure these games are incredibly accessible but we have to make sure there's depth for the gamers who want to find it. So whether it's the different difficulty levels in Kinect Adventures or building up your points as you go through Kinect Sports, unlocking awards for your avatar, props, clothing et cetera - those are all core things for core gamers.
And let's not forget something like Dance Central, done by the guys who did Rock Band - they have a huge heritage in that music genre. So don't tell me Kinect's not for core gamers. I'm a core gamer, I'm loving it and it's great for both audiences.
Eurogamer: All the UK retailers have been claiming their launch allocations are spoken for. How big is that allocation?
Steve McGill: It's big, bigger than we had for Xbox 360. Consumer demand seems to be really positive so lots of retailers have proactively said they've run out of day one stock and stopped their preorder allocation. It depends on the retailer.
The key thing for us is Kinect is clearly going to be the must-have product for Christmas. The responsibility for us now is to make sure we've got the boats, the planes, the vans to continue replenishing stock throughout Christmas.
Eurogamer: A cynical person suggested to me this is quite a typical business model; you deliberately don't make or distribute enough units to meet demand, so you can then say it's sold out at launch...
Steve McGill: I could have a lot more than I'm going to get and still say it's sold out. So it's not a marketing ploy, trust me. It's just a case of launching across the globe in three weeks is no easy feat. We can only manufacture at the speed we're manufacturing, the lines are working 24-7.
Eurogamer: In the past we've seen Wii and Wii Fit shortages happening at Christmas... How are you going to avoid that scenario happening to you?
Steve McGill: By making sure they really do work 24 hours, seven days a week.
Eurogamer: By making those sweatshop workers do even longer hours! Up the wages to 15p!
Steve McGill: Actually it's about making sure there are enough vans. It's the transport off the loading docks and to the retailers - that's one of the trickiest logistic nightmares you face with consumer electronics.
Eurogamer: Why not just get a load of mini cabs?
Steve McGill: Hah! I'm hoping there will be hundreds and hundreds of thousands of consumers getting Kinect this Christmas.
Eurogamer: Microsoft US exec Don Mattress has said reckons you'll shift 3 million Kinects by the end of the year. Do you agree?
Steve McGill: I agree with whatever Don said. I am not aware of that quote.
Eurogamer: Sony has had a head start with PlayStation Move. They've shifted 1.5 million units in Europe during the first month on sale - can you beat that?
Steve McGill: I've heard them talking about a 1.5 million figure, yeah... I'm not sure where that number comes from specifically. I'm sure if you talk to retailers, they might give you a slightly different opinion.
Eurogamer: Are you saying you doubt Sony's word???
Steve McGill: No, I'm just saying retailers might give you their opinion. We're playing our own game. It's a brand new game, it's one where your whole body is the controller. We're going to make as many as we can and I'm sure we're going to sell an awful lot of them this Christmas.
Eurogamer: Do you think you'll sell 1.5 million in a month in Europe?
Steve McGill: I don't know what the European number's going to be. I know what I'm targeting for and I'm certainly not going to give you specifics.
Eurogamer: Have you had a go of PlayStation Move?
Steve McGill: I have. Yes.
Eurogamer: ...What do you think of it?
Steve McGill: Yeah, it was all right. I wasn't surprised by it, I've obviously played the Wii, it's very Wii-like, little bit more accurate... Wasn't impressed by the games... So yeah.
It will be interesting to watch as they roll out more titles near Christmas. I think they've got a better Christmas line-up for Move than they had for launch. But we're very focused on what we're delivering and our gameplay.
Eurogamer: I asked our readers if they had any questions for you via Twitter. @ianovenden says, "At the risk of sounding provocative, what's your favourite PlayStation 3 game?" That is very provocative. I'm suprised you haven't stormed out the room.
Steve McGill: Haha! Erm... I really can't remember the last time I switched my PS3 on.
Steve McGill: There are so few games I want to play.
Eurogamer: Ooh BURN!
Steve McGill: The games I want to play on PlayStation are on 360 too, and that's the best place to play - our platform.
Eurogamer: Oh my GOODNESS! You can't even NAME a PlayStation 3 game! That's how RUBBISH PlayStation 3 is, is that what you're saying?
Steve McGill: It's also how busy I am playing my own games.
Eurogamer: You're too important and the PS3's too rubbish. That's the headline right there.
Steve McGill: I'll say it if you want.
Eurogamer: Go on! Go on!
Steve McGill: [Pause]
Eurogamer: Oh well. A few people said they were concerned about the Xbox 360 release schedule for 2011 - it's looking a bit empty so far. When are you going to announce more non-Kinect games?
Steve McGill: Right now we've got to get through the Kinect launch and we don't want anything we do to defocus from that. We'll make more announcements in due course. I'm not going to make any today.
But the line-up of non-Kinect games for 2011 is amazing. I'm excited about it. I'm confident about it. I have no doubts, that's all I can say.
Eurogamer: @Mistermorriss says, "How many units will Kinect have to sell in the UK before you can consider it a success?"
Steve McGill: I'm not going to give you sales figures. I believe we're going to sell a ton of units. For me it's about the reaction I see from consumers. If they're feeding that back to their friends we're on the right path.
Eurogamer: From @streetmagix: "Why aren't you doing any HD remakes? The God of War collection Sony just released did really well - why not do a Halo remake?"
Steve McGill: I'm not sure what's in the pipeline. We're very focused on the games we've announced right now. There's lots of great stuff coming from Xbox Live Arcade, Fable III, Force Unleashed, Black Ops... The Christmas line-up this year is incredible.
Eurogamer: Is a Halo remake something you personally would like to see? Do you think it's a good idea?
Steve McGill: I imagine it's a good idea. I think some people want to go back to older games and see them revisited and I think a lot of developers want to see that too.
Me personally? My hands are full playing some of the best games we've ever seen come out this Christmas for Xbox 360. Call of Duty, the best place to play that is on Xbox 360. Fable III, I'm playing that at the moment. All of Kinect... So I'm a very busy and a very happy gamer.
Eurogamer: Speaking of Call of Duty, I interviewed Aaron Greenberg at Tokyo Game Show last month. I asked him to bet me a tenner that Halo: Reach would outsell Black Ops on Xbox 360, Would you take that bet?
Steve McGill: Umm... I know what we've done on Halo: Reach, I know they have huge aspirations on Call of Duty... I'm looking forward to both of them...
Eurogamer: Will you bet me a tenner?
Steve McGill: Well, they're going to outsell us in that they're multi-platform, and we're only on one platform.
Eurogamer: But on the Xbox 360 platform, will you bet me a tenner that Halo: Reach does better?
Steve McGill: I'm tightfisted with my cash, so I'm not going to bet anyone any money about anything.
Eurogamer: Aaron wouldn't take the bet either. I'm sensing a serious lack of internal confidence. I think you need to have some more motivational meetings.
Steve McGill: We're very confident about Halo, the numbers speak for themselves. We're also very confident that COD's going to do amazingly well.
Eurogamer: This question's from @shaunmrilroy: "Why is there no Lovefilm-style system on Xbox 360?" The US has got Netflix - why are we still lacking a decent movie service here in Europe?
Steve McGill: I dispute that... I think we've got a great service with Zune movies. We've also got live television through Sky. So I think we have a great entertainment service.
Eurogamer: Well, this is anecdotal but my husband recently wanted to go down the shops and rent a video. I said, "No! Xbox is the future, let's DOWNLOAD one!" But we went through the library and it's not huge, and an awful lot of films on there are quite old and/or rubbish... Whereas in the US, Netflix subscribers can choose from thousands of films, including new releases. Surely our service isn't as good by comparison?
Steve McGill: The US doesn't have Sky, so we've got live TV, which brings football to a lot of people and that's important to a lot of UK audiences. I think we do have a good number of new release movies on there. Kick-Ass has only recently come out on DVD...
It's full HD Blu-ray quality, no disc, no download, no delay. We've got a lot of great partners and there are some partners we don't have who we'll continue to talk to.
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Eurogamer: Are you in discussions with anyone like Lovefilm?
Steve McGill: I'm not aware of any conversations around any new apps coming to the service just yet. But we continue to work with all the movie partners to bring their content.
Eurogamer: Will we ever see the BBC iPlayer on Xbox 360?
Steve McGill: There are conversations going on. The thing for us is, how do we add some magic sauce to that so that it's different? A lot of people are watching that on their PC. How many people are going to watch it on the console unless we add something different?
That's one of the things we talked about when Sky came out - how we could make it more intuitive, the social side of things, party mode environments... We put those together with Sky and launched our service. So you should talk to the BBC.
Eurogamer: Here's a question from @marginwalker: "When the next Xbox comes out, will you be able to keep your old XBLA content and DLC or will it disappear?" I don't make these up.
Steve McGill: We've no plans for another Xbox. You'll continue to see us bring amazing new experiences to the console, without you having to buy a brand new console. A couple of years ago we didn't have movies, Sky, Facebook and Twitter - now we've got things like Kinect.
We'll continue to evolve those gaming and entertainment experiences through the power of software updates, rather than new chipsets and plastic.
Eurogamer: Aaron Greenberg has said he reckons we'll see another Xbox in about five years. So you think that's a reasonable estimation?
Steve McGill: I'm not sure what the timeframe is. There's a long long way to go with the experiences people deliver on this platform - we're just beginning to scratch the surface.
Obviously we've got this brand new experience platform with Kinect. The launch games and experiences are pretty phenomenal but it's a gateway to unlock a lot of amazing ideas for developers. So there's a long way to go.
Stephen McGill is head of Xbox UK. Any Microsoft executive willing to bet us a tenner about the Halo / COD thing should get in touch.