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Phil Spencer named as the new head of Xbox

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Phil Spencer is the new boss of all things Xbox, Microsoft confirms. The now-former head of Microsoft Studios will consolidate and oversee the Xbox and Xbox Live creative teams, as well as Xbox Music, Xbox Video, and Microsoft Studios.

The role that Spencer now occupies has been in flux ever since Don Mattrick left in 2013 to take over as CEO of Zynga. Following Mattrick’s departure, the role was briefly filled by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but soon after the company announced a major restructuring that split the Xbox division. Julie Larson-Green was appointed the head of Xbox hardware and studio groups, while Terry Myerson took over development of the Xbox One operating system.

Spencer’s new role – officially, “Head of Xbox” – sees him reporting directly to Myerson, who oversees the development teams on Microsoft’s operating systems (including Windows and Window Phone, in addition to Xbox). As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella writes in a publicly shared, company-wide memo, having Spencer report to Myerson is meant “to keep gaming close to the group developing operating systems across devices.”

“Combining all our software, gaming and content assets across the Xbox team under a single leader and aligning with the [Operating Systems Group] team will help ensure we continue to do great work across the Xbox business, and bring more of the magic of Xbox to all form factors, including tablets, PCs and phones,” Nadella said of the appointment. “Phil will continue his close partnership with Yusuf Mehdi, who leads business strategy and marketing for Xbox, George Peckham, who heads up third-party partnerships and Mike Angiulo, who will continue leading Xbox hardware. “

Spencer has been with Microsoft for 25 years, working in various departments. In 2002, he joined Microsoft Game Studios as a Studio Manager, then in 2009 he took over as head of Microsoft Studios. In his time as boss of that division, he oversaw the development of several exclusive franchises like Forza Motorsport, Halo, and the lineup of Xbox One exclusive launch titles that included Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome. No word yet on who will replace him.

“You will hear much more as we head into E3, but we are at the beginning of an incredible new chapter for Xbox and I can’t wait for the days and years ahead,” Spencer said. “This is going to be fun.”

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