Microsoft Promotes Xbox Chief in Sign Games Are Big Deal Again

Microsoft Corp.’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, got a promotion and a spot on Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella’s senior leadership team in a nod to the renewed importance of gaming at the software giant.

Spencer, now an executive vice president, previously reported to Windows division head Terry Myerson, who has a seat on Nadella’s council of chiefs. The group meets weekly and is comprised of the tier of executives directly below the CEO.

It’s a change in focus from earlier in Nadella’s tenure. In 2014, in his first big companywide strategy memo, Nadella defined gaming as outside Microsoft’s core businesses, but still a very important "other business in which we can have fundamental impact." 

At the time, the business had just gone through a lackluster release of the overpriced Xbox One and some investors were calling for Nadella to get out of gaming entirely. Since then, Spencer has cut prices and introduced new models, stabilizing Xbox sales which topped $9 billion last year. Microsoft’s purchase of the wildly popular Minecraft video game three years ago has also proven to be a success.

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