Nintendo Executive Leaves to Join Microsoft
From his official Twitter account, Damon Baker shared the “overdue” news that he is the new head of portfolio at Microsoft. Baker’s job will involve helping to “evaluate” all second- and third-party content in accordance with the Microsoft “strategy,” according to Baker’s tweet. The new Microsoft hire also expressed “big thanks” to [email protected] director Chris Charla, general manager of Xbox games marketing Aaron Greenberg, head of Xbox Phil Spencer, and the rest of the team. Baker added that the “future looks amazing!”
It would be an understatement to say that Nintendo fans are surprised by Baker’s announcement. Baker had been at Nintendo for just over 12 years, having worked as a global manager for brand licensing, the head of third-party marketing and communications, and as the head of partner management during his time with the company. Baker also featured in Nintendo Switch indie game showcases, announcing that high-profile indie games like Stardew Valley, SteamWorld Dig 2, and Yooka-Laylee would be coming to the console.
Hey all, overdue news to share. Been soaking up knowledge this last month as the new Head of Portfolio for #Xbox! Honored and excited to help evaluate all 2nd/3rd party content towards our strategy. Big thanks to @iocat @aarongreenberg @XboxP3 and team. The future looks amazing! pic.twitter.com/isqylqnBGk
— Damon Baker (@DWBakes) January 28, 2019
The replies to Baker’s tweet are filled with congratulations from excited Xbox fans who are looking forward to seeing what the new Microsoft hire will bring to the company. Some are already speculating about what third-party deals Baker will be able to secure for the Xbox platform. Xbox may have a close partnership with publishers like EA and Bethesda but it has lost deals with others like Activision, with Call of Duty DLC now being a timed PS4 exclusive. There is hope that Baker will be able to strike up more content deals, letting Xbox players have access to DLC before other platforms instead.
The hiring of Baker also comes at a crucial time for Microsoft. While Microsoft is focusing a lot more on first-party content, with secretive projects in the works at several of its studios, third-party deals will be very important for the company, too. Its Xbox Game Pass subscription service is successful because of the third-party deals that the company has been able to secure this far. Ensuring that gamers have lots of new third-party games to play through the service will be key to growing its subscriber base (and Microsoft’s revenue) and Baker could be instrumental in making that happen.