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Entertainment

Microsoft reorganizes its Xbox and marketing teams to prepare for the future of AI and gaming


Microsoft is revamping its Xbox gaming and marketing leadership, less than two weeks after acquiring Activision Blizzard. Microsoft is promoting Matt Booty to president of games and studio content, including new responsibility for ZeniMax, and Sarah Bond to president of Xbox, overseeing all work on the Xbox platform and hardware. On the marketing side, marketing director Chris Capossela is leaving his position after 32 years at Microsoft.

The Xbox changes mean that Booty will now lead an expanded organization within Microsoft Gaming that now includes ZeniMax and Bethesda. “ZeniMax will continue to operate as a limited integration entity led by Jamie Leder, President and CEO, reporting to Matt,” explains Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, in an internal memo obtained by The edge.

Booty’s expanded role should help Microsoft Gaming avoid scenarios like Red fall going forward, with Microsoft clearly focusing on better collaboration between acquired teams with the ZeniMax/Bethesda acquisition.

“Big games are fundamental to everything we do,” Spencer said in his memo. “We believe that an expanded gaming content organization – one that allows Xbox Game Studios and ZeniMax Development Studios to collaborate effectively together – will allow these world-class studios to do their best work growing our portfolio games that players love.”

Sarah Bond at the BAFTA Games Awards earlier this year.
Photo by Stuart Wilson/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA

Bond will now take over Xbox’s hardware and software platforms. “To manage today’s platform and build tomorrow’s platform, we’re bringing together the teams that will make it possible,” says Spencer. “Sarah Bond will lead this team as President of Xbox, bringing together devices, player and creator experiences, platform engineering, strategy, business planning, data and analytics, and business development.”

Bond is a rising star within Microsoft’s Xbox, particularly behind the scenes of Activision’s recent Blizzard acquisition. Bond will now be responsible for the future of Xbox, both hardware and software – which could include a redesigned disc-less Xbox Series X next year and a next-generation hybrid console in 2028.

These changes to Xbox leadership mean there will be more women than men in gaming leadership roles at Microsoft once Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick leaves at the end of 2023. Here’s the new Xbox org chart :

Microsoft’s new Xbox/games leadership.
Image: Microsoft

On the marketing side, marketing director Capossela is stepping down to make way for Takeshi Numoto. “Takeshi has been at the heart of our Cloud transformation,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in an internal memo to employees. “I am thrilled that he will take on the role of CMO for Microsoft and advance our vision.”

Capossela has worked at Microsoft for 32 years and appeared on stage alongside co-founder Bill Gates during a presentation in which an early version of Windows 98 crashed into a blue screen of death. Capossela led marketing at Microsoft for decades, through the transition to the cloud, the launch of the Xbox and many other moments.

Microsoft is also promoting Yusuf Mehdi to executive vice president and director of consumer marketing. Mehdi first joined Microsoft in 1992, working on product management for Internet Explorer and Windows before helping lead Microsoft’s entry into search with Bing. He was involved in Surface, the launch of Windows 10 and the HoloLens headset.

“Yusuf will champion our end-user experiences and build on his work launching several of our AI-based services to lead marketing for Microsoft Copilot products,” Nadella says in his note. “He will also continue to lead our Customer Solutions Areas (CSAs) of Search, Advertising & News and Devices and Creativity. »

Yusuf Mehdi led the consumer AI campaign at Microsoft.

Microsoft is also moving its consumer sales organization to the Microsoft Gaming team. Led by Ami Silverman, this team is responsible for Microsoft’s consumer retail work. “Ami’s charter applies to all consumer products, including devices and creativity (Windows, Surface, M365) and everything related to gaming,” explains Spencer. “This team’s focus will be on transforming game sales and attracting new audiences across geographic markets.”

Microsoft’s reorganizations here clearly relate to its potential in games and AI. “With our recently completed acquisition of Activision Blizzard King, we are doubling our Gaming business,” says Nadella. Microsoft completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard earlier this month, with plans to announce which games will be coming to Xbox Game Pass in the coming months.

Microsoft has integrated AI into Windows, Office apps, Bing and more in an effort to become an early leader in AI. Microsoft 365 Copilot launches next week, allowing businesses to generate emails, rewrite paragraphs, analyze Excel data and much more. Nadella discussed the potential of AI at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit earlier this week.

“When Windows was created we had the Start button, the Copilot is like the Start button,” Nadella said earlier this week. “It becomes the orchestrator of all your application experiences. So, for example, I go there and I express my intention and either it takes me to an app or it takes the app to Copilot, so it helps me learn and question and create – and completely changes , I think, user habits. »


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