Oh boy, it's like the ship is being abandoned before it even collides with the iceberg. Another top-tier executive responsible for the current situation of the Xbox One has up and bailed ship. I'm talking about the multimedia exec that has helped illustrate a wide and varied expanse of content for the Xbox brand as far as television and movie media goes.
Gamespot caught wind of the news from a report on Variety, where it was revealed that executive Blair Westlake has departed from Microsoft.
As noted by Westlake...
"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,”
This guy was just at CES 2014, according to Gamespot; schmoozing on the show-floor and doing all the necessary PR jargon to keep the company looking good in the public's eye.
Westlake was also responsible for the Xbox's media content since 2004, working with content providers to expand the Xbox's digital library for movies, TV and video streaming like the competitive mofo that he is. So then why the sudden ship-jumping? What happened?
As noted on Polygon, Westlake alludes to the reorganization that took place last year as the prime reason for his departure, stating...
“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.”
Well, if I had to chew through the PR jargon to hazard a guess at his departure, it would probably be that he didn't get along with whoever is in charge of him and the direction they wanted to take the division and decided it was high time to depart while the departing was good.
Given that the Xbox brand already has an established media library, I can't see where Microsoft could really go wrong with a replacement for Westlake. While he's responsible for providing a lot of the TV on your TV content that the Xbox One is now known for, it's not like he did a bad job in actually making the deals to acquire that content. The paywalls, app fees and terri-bad OS and UI functionality is a whole other discussion.
Still, we can only guess at how Microsoft will reevaluate their position without Westlake and what direction they'll take – assuming the direction changes – now that Westlake is gone.
If you're hoping that this means that the Xbox One may be more game-centered and focused on content to lure and keep the core gamer, think again. Microsoft already made it known that they suckered you guys and that you're old-news now. Microsoft is gunning for the casuals of casuals, the housewifes and the old people in rocking chairs; the little kids and the people who can't tell a gigabyte from a gigahertz; the yuppies and near-do-wells; the same people who made the Wii popular.
Yep, Westlake's departure certainly won't spell good news for the core audience, but it may be interesting to see how it affects the content for the casual crowd.