Marc Whitten, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division, leaves the company to join Sonos as Chief Product Officer.
Marc Whitten, a Microsoft stalwart, has decided to bid adieu to Microsoft after fourteen long years of pioneering work pertaining to the Xbox development. He’s leaving Microsoft to join Sonos, the home music streaming company, as Chief Product Officer.
It’s well known to the gaming world how he rigorously worked as chief product officer and corporate vice president for the Xbox team. However, not many may be aware that he joined Microsoft right after college. He begun his career as a software developer for Windows 2000. Joining the Xbox team in 2000, there was no looking back. He was vitally instrumental in the launch of the original Xbox, the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One. He was also behind the launch of Xbox Live.
Incidentally, it marks the opening day of the Game Developers Conference. At the conference, Microsoft is likely to announce the DirectX 12. In addition, Whitten was to hold a “fireside chat” at the Conference in San Francisco on Friday with Gamasutra editor Kris Graft. Spencer now replaces him for the said event.
In November, when the Xbox One was launched, it was far from being perfect at that time. Important features such as controller battery indicator, broadcasting through via Twtich weren’t integrated during the launch. These were added subsequently. Recently, Whitten has drafted a blog post for Microsoft about the Xbox One’s March 2014 update, which will eventually provide each and every feature the company promised.
The idea of top-notch professionals leaving the stage is not new for the world of software development industry. Whitten isn’t the only high-profile executive to call it quits. Just last week, Jack Tretton, President and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) declared his decision to quit after 19 years of association.
Incidentally, Skype founder Tony Bates, marketing boss Tami Reller, and device boss Julie Larson-Green also made similar decisions. In this context, it is hard not to refer to Steve Ballmer’s decision to leave Microsoft.
At Sonos, Whitten will focus on the company’s famous multiroom music systems. Sonos, established in Santa Barbara, Calif, in 2002, is renowned for devising impeccable connected sound devices that jell well with the Internet.
Whitten’s exit notwithstanding, the Xbox team will continue to work together and will report to Terry Myerson, executive vice president who supervises the teams building the software platform and experiences for Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox.
It’s pertinent to note that there’s considerable pressure on Microsoft to sell off the Xbox units, based on the analysis of some Wall Street experts. In addition, Sony’s recently launched PlayStation 4 is a challenge of a new order for Xbox One. Amid these developments and more, Whitten’s exit is fraught with implications for Microsoft and Xbox.
Nonetheless, it will be a new chapter for both Marc Whitten and Xbox. Whitten may be leaving but if one wants to play against Whitten on Xbox Live, his gamertag is notwen.