Microsoft has promoted the business lead on Minecraft to corporate VP of Microsoft Studios.
Revealed by VentureBeat, Matt Booty replaces Phil Spencer after his promotion to EVP, looking after Microsoft's games, hardware and platform strategy.
Spencer will be looking after Microsoft's topline strategy for the games, with Booty handling publishings strategy, with all studio heads reporting to him.
Booty joined Microsoft in 2010 following a 15-year stint at now defunct games firm Midway. There he started off as a designer, before rising through the ranks as a studio head, SVP worldwide studios and eventually president and CEO. After that company's bloody demise, Booty must be grateful to have some more pristine 'Ms' on his CV!
From July 2015, he was looking after the Minecraft brand, having previously helped to put together that $2.5bn deal which say Microsoft bring the blocky blockbuster into the fold. Operations lead Helen Chiang will be taking on that role with Booty's promotion.
“I wanted to make sure we had the right organisation in place to deliver on our content goals," Spencer said.
"With that, I made the decision that I wanted to anoint a leader of our Microsoft Studios organisation, which if you’ve tracked it, I’ve had the leaders of our individual franchises reporting to me for the last three and a half years. That’s been great in driving our all-up strategy and getting us to the point where Satya was willing and eager to make the investment in gaming that he’s made, but it’s also become very clear to me that we’re going to invest more in content, which we are doing, and that a unified studios leadership organisation was going to be critical to our long-term success. I’ve asked Matt Booty to step up into the role of leading Microsoft Studios.”
Booty added: “It goes without saying, but this is an incredible privilege and honor, to step into this role. I really look at it first and foremost as an opportunity to serve and provide a leadership layer to the studio heads, so they can focus even more on making great games. I’ve worked as a peer with Bonnie [Ross, 343 Industries] and Shannon [Loftis, Microsoft Global Publishing] and Rod [Ferguson, The Coalition] and Craig [Duncan, Rare], and obviously very closely with Helen as the No.2 person on the Minecraft franchise in Redmond. It’s a group I have a huge amount of respect for. It’s a world-class group of leaders and a world-class collection of studios. It’s a privilege to get in and help provide a layer of unification and collaboration across the studios, as we go forward helping drive the initiatives Phil talked about, getting behind the company’s vision for gaming.”
This news comes amid rumours of Microsoft's publishing strategy moving forwards. Right now, the only big title that the firm has on its slate is Sea of Thieves. There are reports that a new Fable game is in development over at Forza Horizon makers Playground, while rumours are circulationg that Gears of War 4 team The Coalition is working on a new Perfect Dark title.