The executive team behind all things Xbox is now down a member. This week, it was revealed that Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s gaming division, has decided to part ways the company. Just a year before the Xbox brand enters a new chapter in its life, he has decided to start a new chapter in his.
This brings an end to a nearly 20-year period with Microsoft. Previously a software developer at HP, Ybarra joined the company in 2000 as a systems engineer, and over the years he rose through the ranks and assumed senior roles in several divisions. This eventually led to him joining the Xbox family in 2009, as general manager of Xbox Live. From there, he eventually graduated from that role to partner studio manager before earning his way into the position of Xbox’s vice president in 2017.
Ybarra’s departure comes right as Microsoft is entering the final year of preparing for the launch of the next-gen Xbox known only as Project Scarlett. In announcing this move, he explained his reasoning on Twitter. “After 20 years at Microsoft, it’s time for my next adventure. It’s been a great ride at Xbox and the future is bright. Thanks to everyone at TeamXbox, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished and I wish you the best.”
After 20 years at Microsoft, it’s time for my next adventure. It’s been a great ride at Xbox and the future is bright. Thanks to everyone at TeamXbox, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished and I wish you the best. More soon on what’s next for me (super excited)! 1/2...— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) October 9, 2019
Responding to Ybarra’s tweets, Xbox chief Phil Spencer expressed his support for Ybarra. With him moving on, all three of the big console makers have seen major executives parting ways with them this year. Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime left the company back in April and was replaced by Doug Bowser.
Thank you (@XboxQwik) for your many contributions to Microsoft and Xbox. You've been a strong advocate for our fans from day one, and have consistently driven to keep gamers at the center of everything we do. All of us at TeamXbox wish you the best.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) October 9, 2019
And just last month, Sony Worldwide Studios chairman Shawn Layden announced his departure after being a staple of the PlayStation brand for years. While seeing so many depart can be saddening, it just means they are ready to explore a new chapter in their lives, as the gaming industry moves forward into the next generation.