Xbox’s head of research and design Chris Novak is announcing that he is parting ways with the video game giant after nearly 20 years with the company.
After being one of the most instrumental executives in Xbox for the past 20 years, the company’s head of research and design, Chris Novak, has been moving to greener pastures. Novak joined the Xbox team as Director of Design in November 2002.
There has been quite a bit of conflict at Microsoft and the Xbox team in recent months as the teams are gearing up to reshape themselves a bit when the acquisition of Activision Blizzard is made official and approved by the US government. Of course, there’s no indication that the imminent acquisition has anything to do with Novak’s decision to go ahead, but there will likely be other changes between the teams at both companies in the near future.
In a message Novak posted on LinkedIn, he confirmed that he left the Xbox team, but made it clear he wasn’t doing so out of any sort of anger at his longtime company. In fact, he said he loved his time at the company. He added that over the years he had taken great pleasure in working with and listening to the player community, but now it was time to rest and reflect on the next steps.
Novak, who was instrumental in updating the Xbox Store’s design in 2020, also mentioned the fact that he had intended to step away from Microsoft for some time after something happened in his personal life. Now he would fulfill those intentions. “I’m going to spend some time doing a life and design tour everywhere I can,” he added.
Novak has his fingerprints on various departments at Microsoft thanks in large part to his long tenure at the company. At one point, he was a member of the first team that was working on Xbox’s VR approach, long before HoloLens apparently shifted its focus and direction. But he didn’t just work in departments that were more concerned with hardware than software. Novak also participated in some of the earliest Xbox One game deals.
While working as a design rep for Xbox, he saw some of the biggest games for that platform. He was said to be instrumental in helping to ship games like sunset overdrive and Ryse: Son of Rome. While Novak may be leaving the center of the video game world right now, it’s unclear what he has planned for his post-Xbox career, or when he might announce the next step in his career.
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