Ballmer’s Exit Could Bring More Changes to Xbox One

But perhaps Larson-Green’s most notable characteristics are that she is said to be both an effective leader and actually personable. In short, people actually like working for her. In July, when everybody thought Ballmer would be sticking around, Wired called her “the heir apparent” to his position. That might be a stretch, but it is true that she is now in charge of what will most likely be Microsoft’s most visible new grouping, and that’s a meaningful point in her favor. In any case, you can almost certainly expect Larson-Green to steer clear of any Don Mattrick-style douche-isms.

Whoever does end up replacing Ballmer at the top will be intimately aware of what occurred in the past 13 years, from the inability to accept customer feedback to the disregard for what was going on outside Redmond. And that person will specifically attempt to avoid Ballmer’s pitfalls. And the “One Microsoft” reorganization was such a significant change, and such an important step away from the transgressions of the Ballmer tenure, that the new CEO will be equipped to move forward from day one.

Maybe this will work out, and maybe it won’t. But between a reorganization that will force more people within the company to have input on Xbox and the new sheriff’s imminent arrival, there’s little reason to think the changes made to the Xbox One in the past three months are the only big alterations it will undergo in the near future. Larson-Green and the new CEO, after all, are not going to be personally invested in what the previously insulated Xbox team set out to do with this new console, and OS boss Myerson has a history of stepping into a new role and dispassionately axing a shitty plan, as I mentioned above.

As we all know, however, change isn’t inherently a good thing, and I won’t say it’s invalid to be concerned about non-gamer leadership at Xbox. Too, being Not-Ballmer could be harmful if that premise is taken all the way to the far end of the spectrum. But Larson-Green being the antithesis of what we’ve come to expect from Xbox mouthpieces is a positive indicator. That Myerson both eliminated Windows Mobile and built Exchange into a useful client in the mid-aughts is another.

Within the next year, we will have three people who can make executive decisions about the future of Xbox. We already know two of them are looking at it with fresh eyes, and a third fresh pair, the wild card, is likely coming. And that is exactly what it needs today.

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3 Comments on Ballmer’s Exit Could Bring More Changes to Xbox One

fethski

On August 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Maybe MS will right the ship with the XB1 like Sony did with the PS3 and if they release a kinect free version of the XB1 there’s a good chance I’ll buy one down the road. But when there’s this much major restructuring at a corporation and this much backtracking on policies for a major hardware launch just months away it’s not a good thing imo. That and I just don’t ever see MS releasing a gaming console again. They’re going to be multimedia devices like the XB1 and I don’t want that.

Phil Owen

On August 29, 2013 at 12:11 am

@fethski

It’s become very clear that Xbox One is going to be the loser in the combined launch window, and MS has to know that. So with all these leadership changes, a Windows Blue-type scenario seems likely, and even a complete overhaul of the way the system functions before the end of next year is a conceivable possibility..

Tai Tsing

On August 29, 2013 at 1:16 am

If Larson-Green isn’t the douche that other Microsoft fixtures were then we need to hear it from her. So far the only statements of MS’s vision of video gaming have come from her underlings and stooges. She needs to put in her own words that MS will never sell gamers short again.