Things aren’t going so well for the Xbox team. Not when its Chief Product Officer Marc Whitten is the second high level executive leaving Microsoft.
The news, which was announced on Microsoft’s Xbox news page, is a surprising start to the week of Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2014. Nonetheless, the show must go on for Microsoft and they’re expected to shed more light on DirectX 12, SmartGlass, multi-screen gaming and future expansion plans for Xbox Live.
Whitten stayed with the Xbox development since the very first Xbox, to the Xbox 360 and the recently launched Xbox One. Unlike usual product guys, this is a man known for his active engagement with the gaming community. He has been seen playing with fellow gamers on Xbox Live under his gamertag notwen.
This is the second major departure of a key executive in the Xbox team. The first was Xbox chief Don Mattrick, who left the company to join Zynga as its newly-minted CEO.
Whitten, on the other hand, is joining wireless speaker company Sonos, famed for its music streaming solution that lets you expand and customise your sound in different rooms. While no specific info regarding Whitten’s role at Sonos has been revealed, his experience with Xbox Live could mean a possible online service.
His departure, however, won’t affect the reporting structure of the executive team, which includes Yusuf Mehdi and Phil Harrison. Under Microsoft’s new structure, the team will be led by its executive vice president for software platform Terry Myerson, who oversees Microsoft’s biggest portfolios - Windows Phone, Windows and Xbox.
So heave a sigh of relief, the Xbox team isn’t thoroughly shaken up by this sudden news. At the very least, Xbox One’s plans should be mapped for at least a year, so you can expect more announcements from GDC 2014.
Now, all we need, is for Microsoft to get off their butts, bring the Xbox One to Asia, and work out the licensing deals to finally launch Xbox Music and Video in Malaysia.