Xbox's Aaron Greenberg dishes on first-party investment, Japanese games

Xbox One Family
Xbox One Family (Image credit: Windows Central)

As Gamescom 2018 continues to bombard the gaming world with the latest trailers and announcements, Aaron Greenberg, the Marketing General Manager for Microsoft's Xbox division, sat down with DualShockers to talk about the company's commitment to improving its first-party lineup and continued efforts to build relationships with Japanese developers.

On the topic of first-party titles, Microsoft made waves earlier in 2018, when it announced that it was adding five new studios to its portfolio in a bid to bolster its first-party offerings. That signaled that the Xbox team was getting serious about reacting to player feedback, and it's only the start. In speaking with DualShockers, Greenberg stressed that the company is focused on stepping up to the plate when it comes to growing its content.

It's an exciting time. While we don't pre-announce things, I think you're seeing that the level of commitment is there, and that we believe in continuing to grow that content.Know that the company is focused and investing to continuing to grow our content, and we're gonna be bringing more and more games to our fans no matter what device they're playing on, and growing services like Xbox Game Pass.

Looking forward, Microsoft is leaning on these studios to bring more diversity to its lineup, and more single-player experiences are a part of that plan.

We love single player games. […] It's something that we absolutely believe in, and you're right. I think the thing about these studios that makes them unique is really first and foremost, they are incredibly talented developers that make really high quality games. Most of these tend to be focused — If you think about Compulsion, or Ninja Theory, or Undead — they're make games that are uniquely different from what we're doing today in our first-party studios.These games are different than Forza, or Halo, or Gears, or some of the franchises that people know us for. That's gonna add to the diversity of the content.

One area where Xbox has been a little weak this generation is attracting third-party titles from Japan. However, Greenberg says the Xbox team is stepping things up there as well, highlighting the time Microsoft gave to Japanese games on stage at E3 and Xbox lead Phil Spencer's engagement with Japanese developers.

I think our commitment and our support from Japanese developers has never been stronger, and we wanna help them succeed on the global stage, and that continues to be our focus. We know our fans want those great Japanese games. That's why even some of the games we got later, we made sure that we showed them at E3, we made sure we highlighted them so you know they matter to our fans.Again, we always take that lens of putting our fans first as we think about content, and we know Japanese content is important and that's why you see us grow our content, and we'll continue to focus on that.

These renewed efforts across Xbox come as gaming is becoming an increasingly important part of Microsoft's business strategy. Phil Spencer now reports directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella after his promotion to the company's senior leadership team last year. And in recent quarters, the Xbox division has seen impressive gains in revenue.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Loving the direction the xbox division is going, hopefully we will see a xbox game pass uwp app sooner than later.
  • I enjoyed this year’s E3, despite the lack of major exclusive content being delivered this year aside from the annual Forza title, and I like the rhetoric coming from Team Xbox, but until I see promises fulfilled, it’s just talk, and I would strongly disagree that Japanese support is stronger than ever. Was Greenberg not with Team Xbox during the 360’s reign? Compare the Japanese developer support then to the support now and it’s glaringly obvious that many devs wrote off the Xbox brand this generation until Microsoft could no longer ignore the backlash from the gaming community. You can have all the services you want, but without a good library of games steadily coming to the console, they mean approximately nothing. With that said, thank Odin’s magic beard someone with some pull came to their senses and snapped them out of their trance state suicide march.
  • Yeah too bad we missed out on all the good stuff from Sega and Team Ninja like Yakuza and Nioh this time around. Was really no excuse for MS to let those relationships sour, they were partners before and when your first party offerings are so weak not having those niche Double AA 3rd party games on the console really did them in this generation.
  • Persona5 and Nier sold like 2m WW (outta 70m+ PS4), Yakuza and Nioh? Those games have niche audience. Who's missing what? Here's something you might not know.
    Most J-devs don't do Xbox is because Xbox in Japan is close to no existence and they know their games don't have global (esp westen market) appeal.
    Capcom does Xbox because RE has a global appeal.
    Some other IP like Dragon Ball has global appeal.
    SE now does Xbox because it's trying to become a global publisher / studio.
    * Comparing with SE and Sega, Capcom isn't really in good shape.
    * Many arcade games run on Windows. e.g. Border Break. BB recently got a PS4 port. Xbox version is only possible if BB does well on PS4.
  • Something I think I should add.
    XB org and 360 era taught Japanese retailers that they don't need a foreign console. And then gamers and retailers taught j-devs that they don't need a foreign console. It's a bad cycle. But, console market in Japan is shrinking.