What you need to know
- Microsoft recently finalized its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion, bringing a number of new studios, publishing labels, and IP to the Xbox brand.
- Microsoft is reorganizing its gaming leadership team, with Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty promoted to president of Game Content and Studios.
- This means Matt Booty will now oversee Xbox Game Studios and ZeniMax Media / Bethesda Softworks, while ZeniMax is still being run as a limited integration.
- Sarah Bond is being promoted to president of Xbox, which will have her oversee the hardware, business strategy, and more.
There are some major shifts happening at Microsoft.
The gaming leadership team is changing in big ways. Per a memo obtained by The Verge, head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty is being promoted to president of Game Content and Studios. With this promotion, Booty will still oversee Xbox Game Studios while also overseeing ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks.
ZeniMax Media is still being run in a limited integration format, with president and CEO Jamie Leder leading the company and reporting to Booty.
“Great games are fundamental to everything we do,” says CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer in the memo. “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.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Bond is being promoted to president of Xbox, a role that will have her overseeing hardware, business planning, and much more. The Verge notes that once Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick departs next year, there will be more women than men in the gaming leadership team.
This is also comes as Microsoft is shaking up leadership elsewhere in the company, including the departure of longtime Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela.
Analysis: Most likely a good move
These changes all make sense. Having Booty oversee Bethesda alongside Xbox Game Studios means more chances for studios to collaborate and share tech or support each other, and also less chances for situations to happen like at the launch of Redfall, where Spencer admitted Xbox could've done a better job getting teams to help Arkane out.
Booty not overseeing Activision Blizzard King is interesting, but there are reasons they may not want to have as much immediate collaboration, and I think we'll learn more what's going on there after Kotick is gone in the new year.
Bond's promotion is extremely well-deserved, and it's been something of an open secret for a while that she's been on the fast track to success, playing a huge role in finalizing the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
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