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Old 04-22-2002, 02:31 PM   #1
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Exclamation Xbox Co-Creator Resigns to Start New Venture

Xbox Co-Creator Resigns to Start New Venture

Mon Apr 22, 1:38 PM ET
By Ben Berkowitz

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The co-creator of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox (news - web sites) video game console has resigned days after the software giant conceded the unit was struggling internationally and would miss its initial sales targets, Microsoft said on Monday.

Seamus Blackley, a physicist by training who also worked in Hollywood before joining Microsoft, plans to start some sort of new venture, the details of which he will begin discussing in the next few weeks, according to his spokeswoman, Susan Lusty.

Lusty declined to discuss Blackley's plans, and, without elaborating, a Microsoft spokesman only said the former Xbox executive was leaving to "pursue other opportunities."

News of Blackley's departure comes just days after Microsoft said it would miss its fiscal year-end sales target for the Xbox by as much as 40 percent, a shortfall it blamed on weak international sales. Those weak sales led to price cuts in Europe and Australia last week.

"I think that the guy is responsible for the positioning of the product, and I think Microsoft positioned the product wrong when they launched," said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. "It's an over-engineered product."

The console has also struggled in Japan, selling just over 190,000 units in its first six weeks there, according to Japanese game magazine publisher Enterbrain Inc. By comparison, the console sold nearly 1.5 million units in its first six weeks in the U.S. last year.

Blackley worked at the video game arm of Hollywood movie studio DreamWorks before joining Microsoft as head of the company's Advanced Technology Group. Before his stint at DreamWorks, he was also a noted designer of flight simulation games.

He has been one of the Xbox's public faces from the start, even going so far as to propose to his fiance during the Xbox's launch on Nov. 15 in Times Square in New York.

A book being launched tomorrow about the history of the Xbox project, "Opening the Xbox," by journalist Dean Takahashi, features a forward written by Blackley and centers in large part on the genesis of the project through him.

The book, and Blackley's resignation, come as the video game industry is in the midst of gearing up for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, which begins on May 21 in Los Angeles.

Industry executives, analysts and observers generally believe Microsoft is likely to cut the Xbox's price from $299 to $249 or even $199 at some point this year, though they are divided as to whether such a cut will come at E3 or later in the year, perhaps around September, a more traditional time for price cuts.
Holy cow!
I'm really surprised it's Seamus Blackley. I didn't see this coming.
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Old 04-22-2002, 10:23 PM   #2
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Last edited by grahf; 04-24-2002 at 03:19 AM.
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Old 04-24-2002, 12:18 AM   #3
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So you think he is more like fired by Bill Gates?!
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