Sony has spent the last few weeks reaping the rewards of its new redesigned PlayStation 3, so it's easy to forget that Microsoft also enjoyed a big boost on the back of a round of price cuts. The timing was a coincidence, according to MS Europe's Chris Lewis, but the underlying message was perhaps consistent: this Christmas is a big one.
With that in mind, we were delighted, stumbling around the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle a fortnight ago, to bump into Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg, who should be in a good position to comment on the months ahead. Read on to see what he had to say about the impact of the price cuts as the console war hots up again.
Eurogamer: We often talk to console executives, but we usually assume people know who they are and what they do, which I'm not sure is actually true. Could you just quickly explain your role at Microsoft and what you do for the Xbox division?
Aaron Greenberg: My title is director of product management for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, but I'm not sure that tells you very much. I have been on the Xbox team since before we launched the original Xbox, so have played a variety of roles over the years. Currently my focus is on global strategy, planning and communications for the business. I also have the honour of being the person who often gets to answer many of the tough questions that come to us from media outlets like yourself.
Eurogamer: Flattery will get you nowhere, Aaron. I understand you were the executive producer of Microsoft's E3 conference. Could you explain a bit how that process works, and how in particular the Beatles element of the show came together?
Aaron Greenberg: Yes, that was a new role I played for E3 this year and a very exciting one. With that said, I was just one member of a very large team that brought E3 together for us and so I really have to say that it was not so much my work, but the collective team focus that helped us succeed at E3 this year.
The process for E3 is a very long and detailed one to be honest - not sure we have the time to cover off all the points - but the behind-the-scenes strategy, planning, design, negotiations and logistics are all pretty fascinating. Given our great relationship with MTV Games and the work they have done with Apple Corp and the shareholders to create such an amazing game like The Beatles: Rock Band, we could not think of more entertaining way to open our show. It was a tremendous honour to have Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr share the stage with us at E3, surely a moment that will not be forgotten.
Eurogamer: With Tokyo Game Show just round the corner, everyone's expecting another announcement-heavy showing from Sony, which would be their third in around five months compared to your one big showing at E3. Do you plan to make any announcements at TGS? Is it a strategically important show for Xbox?
Aaron Greenberg: We are going to TGS this year, but unlike last year will not be doing a keynote. TGS is more like GDC, where typically only one platform company does a keynote each year and so, given that we hosted the keynote last year, we are going to step aside and let Sony have a turn on the stage. With that said, the Japanese market and the development community there is very important to us, so we will absolutely have some new stuff to show in Tokyo, but unfortunately you are going to have to wait a bit longer for the details.