this isn’t related to Halo, DarthBALLZ45 from the Podtacular crew recently interviewed Mr. Greenburg about Xbox Live Arcade, The Xbox Vision camera, Sony and Nintendo’s online plans and most importantly his favorite hip-hop artist. :) Click “read more” for the interview. Thanks to both Aaron and Darth!
DB What is the meaning behind your Gamertag “BIGVIP”?
Aaron Greenberg That was a nickname some guys at work gave me. I am a big hip-hop fan, so they used to call me “Notorious” or “Notorious BIGVIP”, but ended up shortening it to just “BIGVIP”
DB What is you daily routine as a member of the Xbox Team?
AG I currently am a Group Manager for Xbox focused primarily on Xbox Live, I work daily with PR, Marketing and the Product Teams to drive our strategy for the business.
DB I hear you into Hip-Hop/Rap-who’s your favorite artist or group right now?
AG I am currently listening to Rick Ro$$, Pimp C and the new Justin Timberlake CD. I got the JT CD early from Europe and it is hot, Timberland delivered again.
DB What was you first job at Microsoft?
AG I started in 1997 working with our businesses in Latin America. I joined the Xbox team in 2000 and was one of the original members, even before the PS2 launched. It has been a wild ride and it feels like we got a lot of the details right with the Xbox 360. Taking my Xbox hat off and just personally as a gamer, I will probably get a Wii, but see no reason to buy a PS3.
DB I heard about people being able to test out the Xbox Live Vision Camera before it’s released, can you remind us on how to do that?
AG We seeded cameras into the community to our MVP members and also provide a number for giveaways to blog and podcast sites as well.
DB When did you guys first come up with the concept of Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays? What were early ideas like?
AG It was locked down earlier this year, but not too far before we announced it. We knew we had a huge number of new titles coming and wanted to manage the portfolio in a way that would be predictable for our owners. Also, with Wednesday being in the middle of the week, it works out nicely as we can release these games at the same time around the world.
DB What’s your current favorite 360 game and/or arcade title out or not out to the public right now? I see you have been playing Madden 07 a couple days before launch!
AG Right now I am really into Madden, normally I am a bigger NCAA Football fan, but for some reason I really got hooked on Madden instead this year. I also just recently picked-up Saints Row and am starting to get into that. On the Arcade side, I love the social games like UNO and Poker a lot. On the retro side, my favorites would have to be Galaga and Frogger. Titles I cannot wait to play include Lumines Live and Small Arms.
DB What is your favorite feature about the Vision Camera?
AG Customizing my Gamer Picture, I change it almost every day, that and sending funny pictures to my friends. I am in a big Madden rivalry right now with K Rock XP from SquadXP.com and we keep sending these crazy pictures holding trophies and football jerseys trying to intimidate the other guy. I can’t wait to give him the beating he deserves the next time we play.
These next two questions are from some of the cool people from the forums at podtacular.com
From Sil3nT71 what do you think of the Wii Virtual Console, and Sony’s plans to create a similar service? What is going to set Xbox Live Arcade apart from its competitors?
AG I really have not seen any details on the Wii Virtual Console or similar plans from Sony. I assume they will both leverage their back catalogues. I feel like we have taken the right approach by partnering with the largest publishers of classic video games like Namco, Konami, Capcom, Midway and Sega plus being a destination for original independent developed games as well. Then you start to think about the XNA Game Studio Express and how the community will now start building there own games, really the future for digitally distributed games is super exciting.
From Uhh Negative Are there going to be more oportunities to download games free within the first 48 hours such as Poker? Do you use feedback from consumers to determine what games you bring to Arcade?
AG Poker was a huge hit, we had more downloads in the first 24 hours than any other item ever on Marketplace. That is a pretty big deal, given all the big demos and videos that have been up from some major franchises. But, to be honest this is not part of a long term strategy for us, it costs a lot of money to build these games and I am sure a number of people that downloaded it for free would have been willing to pay for it. Think of this as something we did as a thank you to the community for their support. Otherwise, all new Arcade will continue to have a free trial that everyone can download. Yes, we do listen to consumer feedback on what games to bring to Arcade, some of this is limited by rights, publishers and development cycles, but when we can we do try to give the people what they want.
Much thanks to BIGVIP for letting me do this interview with him.