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Xbox Research and Design Head Leaves Microsoft after 20 Years

After 20 years with Microsoft, five of them leading Xbox research and development, Chris Novak is leaving the company.


The gaming world is hardly chock full of famous rockstar developers or technical executives. Even so, some major names are well-known to the gaming community. 's Chris Novak is not among them, but his role in shaping Xbox over the last two decades is unquestionable. However, Novak is now calling time on his Microsoft career after 20 years.

If you are unfamiliar with Chris Novak, we get it. Even so, he has been vital in the Xbox division and has been leading Xbox Research and Division (R&D) for the last five years. For 15 years before that, Novak was instrumental in the development of various Microsoft products.

Over his time with the company, he has worked on products like Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass, and more recently Xbox Cloud Gaming. His role as chief of R&D means he has taken a key position in the direction the Xbox brand has taken in recent years.

However, that is now coming to an end as Novak has resigned from Microsoft. He made the announcement in a LinkedIn post:

“I have resigned from Xbox and from Microsoft, and my last day is today, the 19th! I started at Xbox in November of 2002, so after nearly 20 years I know this news can either come as a surprise, or as expected. It's a mix of both!

I have loved my time with Xbox. Building end-to-end experiences for gamers is a privilege. There are very few things one gets to work on in life which evoke such passion in people around the world. I adore listening to gamers and envisioning that next moment of unexpected delight. Gaming is amazing. Xbox will always be with me.

My journey has a period of reflection and rest in its immediate future—one I promised myself a few years ago after a significant event outside of work. I'm going to spend some time doing a life and design tour everywhere I can. If you want to collaborate and chat design, games, or product please reach out (no matter the industry!). I've found that the best things I've seen or done in games have sparked from other areas, and I want to lean into that in a big way.”

Moving On

Novak ends by saying he remains a fan of Xbox and will continue to “root” for its success and for creating a “user-centered process”. Novak's resignation does not seem to be so he can move to another company, at least not yet. He says he will be taking time off.

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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