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Microsoft is hiring for a new team in California to build 'AAA' Xbox games

Xbox One X
Xbox One X (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft has been under pressure to do more to build up its first-party Xbox games portfolio as of late. Its primary competition in the console space, Sony's PlayStation, seems to be churning out Hollywood-level "AAA" games to widespread acclaim with no sign of slowing down. The same cannot be said for Xbox's recent efforts, but we're seeing the first signs that change is on the horizon.

Noticed by Rychu over at ResetEra, Microsoft is hiring a Principle Program Manager{.nofollow} with experience in "AAA" games, located in Santa Monica, California.

Executive Producer/ Lead Producer

  • Develop and manage the product production and launch of across various platforms from both a development and publishing perspective
  • Manage development from concept to release and deliver great high quality games that build on franchise goals
  • Deliver financial and schedule goals on time and to quality
  • Build lead and manage a production team, working in conjunction with multiple cross-functional groups, to deliver milestones
  • Develop and improve production and organizational processes as the teams scale
  • Hire and grow internal studio talent to build teams and culture
  • Utilize location in Southern California to build an ecosystem of contract and external employees for production scalability

The listing asks for experiencing in shipping high-quality games to "AAA" standards, which typically refer to titles that utilize photorealistic art assets and expensive production values, including motion-capture, quality voice work and writing. Internally, only Forza, Halo, and Gears of War approach this standard for Xbox, with many of their other titles falling somewhere in the mid-range in terms of production quality.

Recently, I wrote an article describing how Xbox was working on a slim budget in recent years as part of the Windows & Devices group under Terry Myerson. With the re-organization in place and Xbox lead Phil Spencer sitting at the senior leadership table, Xbox will have the resources it needs to create a high-quality portfolio of content as we head towards the next shift in gaming, notably hardware-agnostic cloud streaming. Clearly, this, along with the recent hiring of Darrell Gallagher and promotion of Matt Booty, are the first signs of this turn around.

More: Xbox can play the long game with its exclusives

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • How do I apply? I'm interested
  • did you not read any further than the title?
  • Watch out for the necrotising fasciitis.
  • ...from Streptococcus spp. ?..
  • From the numerous cocktails of disease lying around in public due to drug users and human faeces everywhere. Bing it if you want to be depressed at how democracy absolutely destroys society.
  • Here's hoping that this group will be focusing on bringing AAA games to both Xbox and Mixed Reality. If they want Mixed Reality to go anywhere with consumers, a continuous stream for AAA exclusives will be necessary.
  • I'm really excited for Microsoft to start this today. I can't wait to play those games in about 3 years.
  • This is good news. I just hope they look to make better story-lead experiences as Xbox has been sorely lacking in that department while PS churns out hit after hit. For me there is no comparison between Forza/Halo and Horizon/God of War/Persona 4 etc. Top graphics is but one important thing.
  • Hits after hits? What on the top10 of ps4 sales chart?
  • Aside from God of War what other PS4 exclusive has been at the top of sales charts this year?
  • You guys are funny. So what other PS4 exclusives that came out so far this year? Shadow of the Colossus and Bravo Team topped the PS4 chart in the UK when they came out. And MLB the show had record sales. But what is an hit? A critical success? One that does amazing sales? One that does great for it's genre? The PS4 is providing exclusives at a much faster rate than the XB1. That is a fact. You guys are probably trying to downplay PS4's output but the gap is there and there is no denying it.
  • Why are you here lol Just saying
  • Sorry but who are you exactly? hmm To answer your question I'm a someone who likes gaming. I come here to read news about gaming and I often post on these comment section.
    React to articles, get information, reply to comments, correct people, give my opinions and point of view. Sometimes I have discussions... You know this type of stuff... But now can you answer me this? Why are you ask me that?
  • Any links to prove your claim? I haven't seen any PS4 exclusives at the top of UK sales charts this year the only exception being God of War.
  • Hmm Sure.
  • It's funny that I see Sea of Thieves ahead of MLB on that one list. We'll see how well state of decay 2 and crackdown 3 sell when they are released. But you provided some proof!
  • PS has choice, and lots of it. Let's be honest, I'm a big Xbox fan but the quality and quantity we have by comparison is p i s s poor
  • Kinda late news but glad it made it here :P saw this listing some time ago..
  • The job listing is dated May 7th 😕
  • May 7th was yesterday lol
  • not saying u guys are wrong but since I was applying for a job on April 14/15, that is the day when I saw it paged up with that of the Halo listing :/
  • Hey Jez, why was the job listing quickly removed after you published this article?
  • The moral to the story is when you already have quality first-party divisions, don't shutter them because you feel the need to go another direction. It's sad that they used to have tons of first party Studios and they got rid of all of them. Heck, they even had a sports division.
  • Got to maintain those divisions with money... Not so easy if your revenue is not commensurate
  • Then maybe they should not up and throw money around willy nilly on projects they can't back for the long term.
  • Now hiring??....hmm does that mean there's nothing coming anytime soon? 🤔
  • Do you think when other companies are hiring, they're starting from scratch, with zero employees?
  • This is great news!! My hope is they build studios and make great games for their customers and for gamers. If this means they'll compete with Sony when it comes to making exclusives and games, it can only be good news for gamers. ofc this will probably upset the clowns who don't care about exclusives. Those who say 3rd party games are the one that matters. Those who said they had enough games and don't need or want this. Those who said exclusives/console exclusives are bad for the industry... I'll still wait for E3 and see how many new exclusives or console exclusives they announce. How many diverse and new IP they announce. And that notcounting the usual sequel of the same old franchise.
  • So if they announced a bunch of generic jrpg's would you call that great news?
  • I want companies to invest in making games. I'm not selfish thinking only on what I may like or not like. Games for the gamers, diverse games, all type of games is all good.
    ofc we will see about quality and other stuff afterwards. Announcing new game, new IPs will be good news. This is positive. Are you trying to be negative?
  • Can you list me some non jrpg new Sony exclusive IP's worth playing?
  • Bloodborne, Horizon Zero Dawn, Knack, maybe even Ni-Oh... All new IPs Upcoming Exciting IPs: Detroit: Become Human, Spider-Man (technically a new IP), Days Gone, and Death Stranding.
  • BB is old news. Are character controller and animation controller deign any better than Dark Soul? Knack???? Ori, Cuphead or Luckys' Tale look more interesting. Nioh sold ok... not majority's cup of tea. Detroid... movie game, not interested. mo-cap is no tech either. Spider-Man is the only one I'm interested. Death Stranding, Kojima? A No. The only game I bought from the list is HZD. Played prob 30%, jump to new games and haven't got time to come back.
  • He was asking for New IPs worth playing, sales aren't the determining factor of Quality. Do what you do dude. Just enjoy your games.
  • Sure I can but I won't because what I consider worth playing may not be the same for others.
    I usually don't want to talk about subjective stuff. If I give out a list like Valray Cameau, you'll probably get people like Hirox K saying they don't like the games and it's not worth it...
  • It'd be good news.
  • They should really hire a new team for Windows and some UX designers.