Microsoft has announced some pretty significant leadership and organizational changes in the gaming segment today, as reported by The Verge.
First and foremost, Xbox and ZeniMax will be brought closer together to cooperate more smoothly, perhaps taking a cue from PlayStation Studios to try to avoid another Redfall situation. Matt Booty, previously head of Xbox Game Studios, will now be President of Game Content and Studios, overseeing ZeniMax as well as Xbox. In an internal memo quoted by The Verge, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said:
We believe that an expanded gaming content organization — one that enables Xbox Game Studios and ZeniMax’s development studios to collaborate effectively together — will empower those world-class studios to do their best work in growing our portfolio of games players love. ZeniMax will continue to operate as a limited integration entity led by Jamie Leder, President and CEO, reporting to Matt. All ZeniMax development studios and ZeniMax Central Services teams will continue reporting to Jamie to maintain and optimize current content development and production cycles. Also, to deepen our partnership and accelerate mutual learning, a number of ZeniMax leaders will now report to those Microsoft leaders with whom their work most closely aligns.
Another big shakeup is that Sarah Bond, previously Corporate VP at Xbox, has been promoted to President. She’ll now oversee both hardware and software platforms. Spencer stated:
To manage the platform of today and build the platform of tomorrow, we are bringing together the teams that will make this possible. Sarah Bond will lead this team as President of Xbox — bringing together Devices, Player & Creator Experiences, Platform Engineering, Strategy, Business Planning, Data & Analytics, and Business Development.
There are some changes on the marketing side, too. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced those with an official blog post. With regards to Xbox, Ami Silverman and her Consumer Sales Organization have been moved under Gaming, reporting directly to Phil Spencer, who said:
Ami’s charter crosses all consumer products, including Devices & Creativity (Windows, Surface, M365) and all things Gaming. This team’s focus will be to transform the gaming sales motions and attract new audiences across geographic markets.
The new gaming leadership chart currently includes Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, but that’s only going to be true for the remainder of this year. Kotick already revealed he’ll step down starting January 1, 2024, as many had expected.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella did say earlier this week that the company would double down on gaming following the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Today’s changes are likely an attempt to align the company to execute that plan.