These 22 Microsoft power players are leading the turnaround of Xbox and the rest of the company’s gaming business back into gamers’ good graces (MSFT)

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S

Summary List Placement

After a turbulent few years, Microsoft’s Xbox division is back in the good graces of gamers everywhere. 

With the launch of the brand-new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles in mid-November, Microsoft officially kicked off the most recent game console generation with two killer boxes. While the Xbox One was routinely old-sold by Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft seems well-positioned with these new consoles to take on the PlayStation 5, which was also released this month.

And that turnaround is due to a years-long effort from a dedicated group at the company who not only remember the golden years of the Xbox 360, but who also see the future of cloud gaming and Xbox as an ecosystem unto itself.

These leaders are also responsible for making gaming a bigger priority for Microsoft overall. The gaming business has become so important to the company CEO Satya Nadella made gaming boss Phil Spencer one of his direct reports in September 2017. Spencer regularly speaks at company all-hands meetings, presenting the company’s vision for services like Xbox Game Pass.

Business appears to be booming amid the pandemic. Microsoft doesn’t report specific revenue figures for Xbox, but said in its most recent quarter that revenue was up 30%.

Here are the 22 power players of Microsoft’s gaming division:

Phil Spencer, executive vice president, gaming

Phil Spencer runs Microsoft’s entire gaming business, from overseeing its line of Xbox gaming consoles, to the online multiplayer service Xbox Live and streaming service Game Pass, and massive game franchises including “Halo,” “Minecraft,” and “Forza.”

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He was also behind Microsoft’s still-pending $7.5 billion acquisition of “Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout” publisher Bethesda Softworks. Spencer has led Microsoft’s effort to bring the Xbox brand back into the spotlight in the game business, and to broaden that brand into areas: The subscription-based service Xbox Game Pass, and its new streaming functionality, are the fruition of a years-long plan that Spencer spearheaded.

Beyond Microsoft, Spencer is a game industry leader — he serves as a co-chair of the Entertainment Software Association, and is the face of the Xbox brand. He started his career at Microsoft as an intern in 1988.

Sarah Bond, corporate vice president, gaming ecosystem

Sarah Bond is the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s gaming ecosystem, leading an engineering and business team with a “mission is to empower game creators to conceive, build, launch, and manage games – using any and all of Microsoft’s software and services from Xbox to Azure,” according to the company.

Bond’s LinkedIn profile describes the gaming ecosystem as a $10 billion business. Bond, according to Microsoft, has been instrumental to the growth of Xbox as she’s helped the company expand partnerships and secure streaming rights for the streaming service built into Xbox Game Pass.

Melissa Boone, senior research manager at Xbox Research

Melissa Boone is a social psychologist who studies games user behavior and interactions as a senior research manager on the Xbox Research team.

Boone’s work includes the Microsoft-owned Halo and Minecraft franchises and has conducted research projects that inform Microsoft’s gaming …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech

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