If you thought the future of Xbox was bright, you haven’t seen anything yet. Just days after the finalization of Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard King, the company is unveiling the new Xbox leadership structure with promotions aplenty and some interesting expansions for existing executives. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer is also explaining what all this means for Bethesda and ZeniMax’s development studios too – another major gaming acquisition for Xbox.
It’s easy to get excited about the future of Xbox when you look at all the new Xbox games coming out in the next handful of months and the best Xbox Game Pass games you can play with an active subscription right now. However, there’s more to it than that and the recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard King is raising questions as to how independently the company will operate within Xbox – and what that means for the future of series like Call of Duty and Overwatc 2. In an effort to answer some of those questions, Microsoft – spearheaded by Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer – is revealing it’s new leadership strucutre.
Not only this, but an internal memo – which The Verge is reporting on – shines a little more light on how this is going to affect the teams under the Xbox umbrella. So, let’s talk about who’s where and why that’s important.
First up, we have Matt Booty – once head of Microsoft Studios and now president of game content and studios. It might look like a small role change, but it’s going to give Booty more influence over a larger group of developers within Xbox – namely Bethesda and ZeniMax. As The Verge reports, Spencer explains that “ZeniMax will continue to operate as a limited integration entity led by Jamie Leder, president and CEO”. However, this expanded gaming content organization, led by Booty, should help Xbox Game Studios and ZeniMax’s studios “collaborate effectively together”. This could mean we’re about to see more of the best RPG games available through Xbox, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
As you can see in the diagram showing the new Xbox leadership strucutre below, Sarah Bond is now president of Xbox – a promotion from corporate vice president.
As Spencer explains in his memo, this role will see Bond take charge of Xbox’s “devices, player and creator experiences, platform engineering, strategy, business planning, data and analytics, and business development”. It’s quite possibly the most important role besides Spencer as CEO of Microsoft Gaming and an exciting change for Xbox.
Elsewhere Dave McCarthy will be acting as COO of Microsoft Gaming, Jerret West will be chief marketing officer, and Joslyn Main will be chief of staff. Ami Silverman will also be chief consumer sales officer and operate under the Microsoft Gaming team, rather than Microsoft as a wider organization. With a goal, as Spencer explains, “to attract new audiences across geographic markets”, she has a lot of work ahead of her. However, we think all the Xbox Game Pass games available at the moment will help with that – a little, anyway.
You will also notice that, as it stands, Activision Blizzard King is going to be operating much more independently than something like Bethesda. Bobby Kotick, who is expected to step down from his role soon, is listed as CEO of Activision Blizzard King separately from Xbox’s studios – who Booty now leads. We don’t think will affect any progress towards bringing Call of Duty to Xbox Game Pass, though.
There are a few changes with Microsoft’s leadership strucutre, too – with long-time CMO Chris Capossela stepping down after 32 years at Microsoft. This change, which sees Takeshi Numoto undertake the role alongside a promotion for Yusuf Mehdi, could suggest a larger focus on AI in the future. However, only time will tell.
At the moment, there’s no telling what this really means for Xbox players. We don’t think Bond is going to dramatically impact the way the company operates, but it could lead to some interesting improvements down the line. Not to mention a greater cohesion for the developers owned by Microsoft, with Booty leading a broader organization than was previously established. With Xbox ready to shine a light on older Activision IPs with Game Pass and Xbox VR still waiting in the wings, the next few years – when it comes to Xbox – will be worth paying attention to.