E3 2015: Interview with Xbox UK´s Jon Edney
We caught up with Jon Edney, Marketing Manager for Xbox UK at E3 to ask him about the future of gaming
Following the Xbox showcase at E3, we caught up with Jon Edney, Marketing Manager for Xbox UK.
Tech Talk - Firstly, congratulations on a great show yesterday. As an Xbox One customer myself, I’m very excited about the next 18 months, particularly the prospect of revisiting my old games library with the addition of backwards compatibility. What was your favourite announcement from the show?
Jon Edney - Hard to pick one thing out as so much crammed into 90 minutes. Obviously the Minecraft Hololens demo blew everyone away but I’d also pick out the Halo multiplayer announcements, just it’s scale is astounding. Also some of the brand new games like Gigantic and Fable Legends which are both coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 are extremely exciting. And you know there’s going to be even more to come in the Xbox Daily Live shows.
TT - We noticed quite a few trailers from the showcase made sure to highlight that the’d play in 60fps. Obviously there’s been a fair amount of criticism from the community and critics alike over the last year and a half so it’s great to see these games promising higher frame rates. Was this a focus area for you and developers to really improve on?
JE - Xbox One games look beautiful, you saw that in the briefing. Each game is unique and we absolutely work extremely closely with our studio teams to optimise for the resolution and frame rate that works best for the experience they’re aiming to deliver.
TT - Lots of first party games announced yesterday, with updates on Gears of War, Fable Legends, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and of course Halo 5: Guardians. But we didn’t see any news on highly anticipated games such as Crackdown or Scalebound. Do you know if we’ll be seeing anything on these titles soon?
JE - We’re launching the best games lineup in our history and importantly their launching this year! So with seven blockbuster exclusives only available on Xbox: “Halo 5: Guardians,” “Forza Motorsport 6,” “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” “Gears of War: Ultimate Edition,” “Fable Legends”, “Rare Replay” and “Gigantic”. And as for other titles there’s nothing to announce at this time but we feel there’s certainly more than enough to be playing this year!
TT - You’ve just announced the new 1TB Xbox One, which was definitely being called for in the community, as well as the new controller. But we’re not hearing much about Kinect. Is this something that’s being put on the shelf to make space for Hololens development?
JE - Microsoft is committed to investing in innovative technologies, like Kinect and HoloLens. We still absolutely believe Kinect brings magic to the system. Individual developers will continue to determine the level of Kinect integration that best fits their design goals. Xbox One is better with Kinect, making games, TV and entertainment come alive with amazing experiences.
TT - Hololens looked fantastic yesterday, truly revolutionary stuff. How does Hololens differ from what else is on show, and how do you guys plan to apply its unique offering to hardcore gaming?
JE - Holographic computing experiences with Microsoft HoloLens are different from existing experiences, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). With VR for example, the user is completely immersed in a computer-generated reality, or virtual world. At Microsoft we’re moving towards a mixed reality world, with HoloLens but also have our partnerships with Oculus and Valve for their virtual reality headsets that we’re extremely excited about.
In terms of gaming we’re really at the beginning of a journey. At the Xbox booth, we are showing a demo of Halo 5: Guardians that utilizes Microsoft HoloLens to bring the Halo universe to life through holograms. And we’re going to be sharing more info in the future.
TT - This year, it’s 20 years of E3. Do you have a favourite E3 memory?
JE - Difficult question as there have been so many. I think I’d probably have to go for the Kinect unveil or as it was known then; Project Natal back in 2009. That said this year’s Minecraft Hololens demo was right up there for me in terms of jaw dropping innovation!
TT - Along the same theme, we’re asking our community what game over the last 20 years changed their lives. Mine was LucasArts’ ‘Star Wars:Dark Forces’, I can still remember the Level Skip command, I was 7 and not very good. If I hadn’t have played that, I don’t think I would have been a gamer. What game changed your life?
JE - Without a doubt I always go back to the early Tomb Raider titles as the games which really got me into gaming. Hence why I’m so excited by the prospect of Rise of the Tomb Raider coming exclusively to Xbox this year. You got a glimpse in the briefing of just how beautiful it looks and there’s going to be lots more to share on the title in the build up to the November launch.