Xbox Multimedia Executive Leaves Microsoft, Cites New Direction as Cause

Xbox Multimedia Executive Leaves Microsoft, Cites New Direction as Cause

Blair Westlake has resigned from Microsoft after 10 years of service, cites company is moving in a "direction that doesn't fit his expertise or skill sets."

In a report by Variety, it has been confirmed that Corporate VP of Microsoft's Media and Entertainment Group, Blair Westlake, has cut ties with the company. Westlake, who oversees media partnerships and licensing of TV and movies for the Xbox division, cites Microsoft's new direction as the reason for his departure.

It has become clear to me that the organization is moving in a direction that does not fit either my expertise or my skill sets...Over the last few months Microsoft has been undergoing a large-scale reorganization. During that period, I have had the privilege of working with numerous talented and professional people. While I will miss their company and our interaction, I truly believe that this move is in the best interest of all parties concerned. I want to thank my talented and committed team, as well as Yusuf Mehdi, Robbie Bach, Will Poole and Hank Vigil, all of whom had a significant and positive impact on me during my tenure at Microsoft.

Westlake was formerly with Universal as a chairman of its television division and joined Microsoft back in 2004. His departure doesn't mean Microsoft is focusing on less multimedia for the Xbox brand though, as Microsoft hired longtime CBS president, Nancy Tellem, to serve as president of entertainment and digital media in September last year, with the post overseeing development and production of exclusive series on Xbox platforms.

Source: Variety via GamesIndustry

Permalink

Translation: "OMG! ALL HANDS ABANDON SHIP!!! THIS COMPANY IS GOING DOWN!!<Various sounds of sirens and alarm bells>"

Seriously though isn't this like the 4th major microsoft exec to leave the company these few months...
In between the public relations debacle that was XBOne and the continuing flak storm from Windows 8, this doesnt bode well for the entire company.

"Over the last few months Microsoft has been undergoing a large-scale reorganization."

Interesting...

His departure doesn't mean Microsoft is focusing on less multimedia for the Xbox brand though

I take it more as he was a former "TV Guy" with the values reflective of that skill set and as MS, and really all video centric distributors move away from that it presents the conflict that becomes a choice of personal values. For example "Old TV" operated on distribution and segmentation that rely on the need for metered periodic cliffhangers. With emerging digital distribution methods where people are able to consume an entire season in a 6-15 hour block spanned over 2-7 days, implanting those same constantly building to cliffhangers checkpoints in 45 minute intervals becomes illogically formulaic.

Changes in design philosophy likely will change dynamics of the content.

You see in shows that their distribution method changes their design philosophy for example what was seen in Netflix with House of Cards, and to a lesser extent the pungent bloated corpse of the resurrected Arrested Development. Without those metered "checkpoints" that force individual units to be more stand alone in nature, there is the potential you to see changes of pacing of the narrative with greater frequency, wider scope and more varied velocity of onset.

So for example if you have a hard coded belief that TV shows "should" exist in 40-60 minute blocks and you work for a media distribution company that would call into question the validity of that long held belief and their actions either intentionally or inadvertently are serving to bypass, nullify or outright dismantle that notion, then you might find yourself at odds with that philosophical direction.

If you tend to look beyond the most base and superficial level to try and postulate multiple likely motivations, it is not really all that confusing or even surprising outcome.

TheSYLOH:
Translation: "OMG! ALL HANDS ABANDON SHIP!!! THIS COMPANY IS GOING DOWN!!<Various sounds of sirens and alarm bells>"

Seriously though isn't this like the 4th major microsoft exec to leave the company these few months...
In between the public relations debacle that was XBOne and the continuing flak storm from Windows 8, this doesnt bode well for the entire company.

Why do you think it doesn't bode well? They haven't done well, and now it looks like they're actively trying to restructure. Ideally, that means doing stuff that isn't what they have been doing, as that has clearly not been working so far.

Westlake was formerly with Universal ...

Given Universal's history of aggressive copyright enforcement (including filing false claims on YouTube), I would guess Westlake wasn't too happy about Microsoft disabling some of the built-in DRM on the XBone. He probably bailed because he realized he'd really have to work to keep people from "illegally" watching, ripping and/or reposting XBox TV content.

TheSYLOH:
Translation: "OMG! ALL HANDS ABANDON SHIP!!! THIS COMPANY IS GOING DOWN!!<Various sounds of sirens and alarm bells>"

Seriously though isn't this like the 4th major microsoft exec to leave the company these few months...
In between the public relations debacle that was XBOne and the continuing flak storm from Windows 8, this doesnt bode well for the entire company.

I think of this as quite the opposite. The guy is leaving obviously because Microsoft is moving in the direction of "New Media" and not backing "Old Media".

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here