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He doesn't seem to fit in with the direction the company is going

The Microsoft executive responsible for moving the Xbox beyond just video games has suddenly resigned, saying the company is moving in a direction that no longer jives with him. 

According to a new report from Variety, Corporate VP of Microsoft’s Media and Entertainment Group Blair Westlake has resigned after a decade spent with the company. 

“It has become clear to me that the organization is moving in a direction that does not fit either my expertise or my skill sets,” said Westlake. “Over the last few months Microsoft has been undergoing a large-scale reorganization. During that period, I have had the privilege of working with numerous talented and professional people. While I will miss their company and our interaction, I truly believe that this move is in the best interest of all parties concerned."

Westlake, who joined Microsoft in 2004, was in charge of media partnerships and the licensing of TV shows and movies for Xbox. He is largely responsible for turning Xbox into a full entertainment hub rather than just a video game console. 


Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates and Blair Westlake [SOURCE: trbimg.com]

"[Westlake] made valuable contributions to the company and we wish him success in his future endeavors,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. 

Prior to Microsoft, Westlake served as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group, spent 19 years as an exec at Universal Studios, and was a consultant for Comcast and NBCU.

Microsoft is currently undergoing a major restructuring plan that will unify devices like Windows Phone, PC and Xbox One. It was announced around summer of last year. 

In addition, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced in August 2013 that he would retire within a year, and the new CEO is expected to be announced at the end of this month.

Source: Variety



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well
By p05esto on 1/16/2014 12:40:57 PM , Rating: 3
I have the xbone and it's good, but not great. Should have named it the 720 imo... a much "cooler" name than the pompus ONE name. This is not the matrix. They let sony build a stronger system, xbox isn't full 1080 (and 4k is already here). All the features on the ONE that I don't care about and yet it can't even browse my home movie server via DLNA. WTF. I have basic cable (no box) so I can't even plug in and use any of the cool tv stuff they claim the system has. I like the games so far, but they are not much better than the 360. Just ok better, nothing mind-blowing. Happy, but not thrilled by any stretch.




RE: well
By CaedenV on 1/16/2014 12:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind that the Xbox was a mess upon release that improved quite a bit in it's short life. The x360 was HORRIBLE on release, and underwent several major changes throughout its life to improve performance and UX.
The X1 seems to be a similar story. It is a bit of a launch mess, but MS will stand behind it and improve it over the years.
Sony on the other hand is an appliance company. They release products and that is it. There will be updates for DRM, or bug fixes, but you can't expect any large scale improvements to it's interface, speed, or capability moving forward except for 4K video support which the box should be ready to do with a minor update.

Also, launch titles always suck. Give it a year and both platforms will have some great offerings. That said, PC has way more offerings than both, and has had 1080p support for 5+ years now, already has 4K support (if you are willing to pay for it). If you want capability then go with PC gaming. Console gaming is gaming at the lowest common denominator.


RE: well
By powerwerds on 1/16/2014 11:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Say what you will about the original Xbox being a mess upon release, for me it was definitely thrilling and definitely mind-blowing, unlike the OP who besides specific gripes about the Xbone feels just "meh" about the system. Turning on the original and first experiencing Halo, plus the hard drive, plus the internet, the whole shebang if you will, had me well and duly impressed.

I've not time enough for gaming to even consider getting a console, but its weird just how far they seem to be behind PCs nowadays from a technical standpoint. The whole console experience used to feel dated towards the end of its life-cycle sure, and cutting edge upon release, but something just seems lackluster about it all with the tech-specs being behind some other par.

I guess this means all new consoles will be like what Nintendo did when they dropped the GameCube. Too expensive and risky to try and set the curve I guess, when the PC world is going to set it anyway no matter. Throw a strike every time! Whizzing past you only at 65 tho...


RE: well
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 1:03:06 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, they should have named it the 720p :)

heheheh oh Reclaimer, you are SO clever!


RE: well
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 1:18:39 PM , Rating: 2
So does that make the Playstation the 900p?


RE: well
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 2:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't make sense because 720 is the natural progression from 360, PLUS it's a play on words err numbers, about the consoles poor hardware relegating gamers to mostly 720p.

Playstation 900 doesn't make any sense or has the same logical progression. It's just you trying to be contrary for the sake of being contrary.

It's also hardly original, the joke has been out for months, I was just being silly.


RE: well
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 2:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
The PS4 doesn't always render at 1080p either. That was the point I was trying to make. I'm just baffled at why upscaling to 1080p is ok when Sony does it, but bad when MS does it.

I am sure that both cases, it was just a developer who rushed the game without optimizing. There is no reason either system can't push 1080p, and it has been proven by the fact that other titles on both systems do run at 1080p.


RE: well
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 3:08:53 PM , Rating: 2
Most titles for the PS4 run at 1080p@60FPS from what I've been reading. The Xbox struggles to run anything at 1080p. Hell it can't even run Dead Rising at 60 FPS at 720p. 30fps wtf!?

I don't really want to rehash this argument though. But yes, there are obviously significant differences in graphics power between the two consoles. We've known this for months now.

Microsoft want's people to believe their GPU can be 35-50% weaker, but special pixie dust sprinkled from 'the cloud' can make up the difference.

But yeah I'm with you, I'll be sticking with my PC for gaming.


RE: well
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 3:17:37 PM , Rating: 2
I've managed to run games at 1080p on my PC with less powerful graphics cards than either of the consoles in the past. I am not sure why either should struggle. I know that the XB1 has inferior shader power than the PS4. I doubt in the end it will make much difference on anything other than exclusives for either console. Multi-platform games are just going to target the minimum they can get away with, like usual.


RE: well
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 3:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
Well those video cards use specialized RAM. What gimps the Xbone is the use of slow system RAM for the GPU, so the throughput sucks balls.

But I digress.


RE: well
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 4:05:59 PM , Rating: 2
There are pluses and minuses to using GDDR5 for unified memory. Bandwidth is higher than DDR3, but latency is higher as well. In scenarios where large amounts of data are being moved, GDDR5 will shine. If there are frequent, smaller, memory accesses, performance will actually be lower than DDR3. Admittedly, in most games, the former scenario is probably the case, so Sony's decision will most likely pan out well. But if GDDR5 were superior in every way but price, then workstations, where cost isn't really an object, would be using it as system RAM.


RE: well
By ie5x on 1/17/2014 2:33:55 AM , Rating: 2
The only way I would buy XB1 would be if they launch an XBMC app for it and let me connect my local media with it. The titles out there right now are not that attractive (to me).

We don't have Netflix yet in our country and if XBL of XB360 is any indication, there will be only 4 to 5 apps available for my region. Meh.


In other words...
By DT_Reader on 1/16/2014 3:57:50 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
the organization is moving in a direction that does not fit either my expertise or my skill sets

In other words, "All I know how to do is stack-rank subordinates. I'm clueless when it comes to actually managing people."




Nitpick
By Namey on 1/17/2014 12:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
I believe you meant "jibes" as opposed to "jives"




funny
By Argon18 on 1/16/14, Rating: -1
RE: funny
By Nortel on 1/16/2014 11:53:49 AM , Rating: 2
After 'the people' caused a ruckus about DRM in the XBone, MS removed it. Since it was all software, I'd place bets on MS re-implementing all the DRM they had originally planned to roll out.

If I was in his position, I'd resign after MS moved in that direction as well.


RE: funny
By Belegost on 1/16/2014 12:33:15 PM , Rating: 3
"Prior to Microsoft, Westlake served as chairman of Universal Television & Networks Group, spent 19 years as an exec at Universal Studios, and was a consultant for Comcast and NBCU."

This was an exec for movie and TV studios, plus consultant for cable and broadcast companies. I don't see him having an issue with more DRM.

If anything I would expect the opposite, I could see him being the one who pushed for stronger DRM and more limits on content usage.


RE: funny
By arazok on 1/16/14, Rating: 0
RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 1:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly,funny the same people who are bashing MS over this are often the ones most excited about the SteamBox. Since when was Steam DRM free?


RE: funny
By sprockkets on 1/16/2014 1:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
Does Steam kick you out if you don't check in each day? No. Should a console ever do that? No.

Bashing deserved.


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 1:42:15 PM , Rating: 2
Neither does the Xbox One. Besides, if I launch any of my Steam games, they will not launch in offline mode unless I go online first, make sure they are updated, then switch them to offline mode. I don't know how long you can remain in offline mode, never tested it, since I am always online. I just wanted to see how offline mode worked. Funny you need to be online to enable offline mode.


RE: funny
By sprockkets on 1/16/2014 2:29:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Neither does the Xbox One.


And that's because they removed it after people complained and Sony embarrassed them.


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 2:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
I would actually prefer a Steam-like purchase of games on a console. MS should give the option. Buy the disc if you want to resell it later, or download if you don't care about resale, preferably at a discount over physical media.


RE: funny
By althaz on 1/16/2014 9:10:48 PM , Rating: 2
You can buy the games digitally (that's how I get all my games). It's not cheaper though :(.


RE: funny
By LordanSS on 1/16/2014 4:20:45 PM , Rating: 3
Before entering offline mode, you need to go online so the Steam client can verify (and save) your account information. Obviously you won't be able to download/install games while in offline mode, Steam being an online store and all.

I have 3 machines, 2 of which stand side by side, and all of them have Steam. Main machine has Steam on online mode, while the other two keep it in Offline mode all the time. My secondary desktop machine has had Steam in offline mode for over 6 months now, and I still get to play the installed games on it without problems. Many of those games have been updated on my main machine, but never bothered doing it on the secondary/tertiary, so don't know why you'd be facing this issue of going online all the time.


RE: funny
By BuddyRich on 1/17/2014 9:48:11 AM , Rating: 5
Offline mode is fickle but the bare minimum is you have to have launched a game at least once while online. After that you are good to go.

However, the #1 reason why Steam gets praise vs. consoles is price. Far Cry 3 sold for 7.50 last sale. Same game for for 360 or PS3 was still $30 at any video game store, slightly cheaper used. And the PC version looks better.

Even a non-sale release (where you can still usually get a pre-order discount) of a AAA title is usually $50 vs. console standard of $60, and the PC version is usually better.

The PC platform is also upgradable and the same game will work on your next PC. The XB1 game will only ever work on a XB1... Add in mod support, ability to use 3rd party utilities (Ventrillo Server vs. XBLive chat) and PC has a lot of advantages.

I'd also add trust. Valve have stated they would disable DRM completely if the company ever goes out of business. Somehow I couldn't see MS or Sony doing that. They couldn't even answer what would happen to the authentication servers when the next XBox came around. Would all of your games suddenly stop working? I don't want to take that chance.


RE: funny
By datdamonfoo on 1/16/2014 2:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
Many of the games I play on Android won't even load if I don't have an internet connection. WTF.


RE: funny
By inighthawki on 1/16/2014 2:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
No, bashing not deserved. Constructive criticism deserved. It's very clear the issue was not about the DRM, but the checking period. 24 hours was simply too frequent when compared to something like Steam, which has a significantly longer period. (Yes, Steam offline mode does have a checkin time, it's just a very long time)

Used games is also a joke of an argument. Sorry to everyone out there who used that argument in favor of removing the DRM, but you're just wrong. It really does not help the industry at all. It might get you a few games a bit cheaper, but otherwise it's pretty detrimental to the game industry.


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 2:49:20 PM , Rating: 2
If so many console games didn't have such short gameplay and crappy replay value, reselling wouldn't be such a popular choice. But if a game that costs $60 only give 8-10 hours of play, then I would probably want to sell it too. That is why I prefer PC gaming. Between games like the Civ series that you can play over and over, and the mod community for so many games, the value is just so much higher, IMO.


RE: funny
By inighthawki on 1/16/2014 3:42:27 PM , Rating: 2
The xbox did support selling your games, just digitally for store credit instead of gamestop credit. "Used games" would still existed in that manner, except now the money from new purchases goes to the developers instead of gamestop. Steam has also proven that when more of this money goes ot the developers (less resale going to used games dealers and writing out the middle man), there tend to be quicker declines in prices and more sales.


RE: funny
By sprockkets on 1/16/2014 3:41:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's very clear the issue was not about the DRM, but the checking period.


That's called DRM.


RE: funny
By inighthawki on 1/16/2014 3:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, wording. I meant that the problem was not with the existence of DRM.


RE: funny
By sprockkets on 1/16/2014 5:28:47 PM , Rating: 2
OK, same here.


RE: funny
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 2:28:33 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Exactly,funny the same people who are bashing MS over this are often the ones most excited about the SteamBox. Since when was Steam DRM free?


Steam has always worked like that. They haven't drastically changed their model all of a sudden for the worst.

Steam also isn't run by a tech-gorilla with a decades long track record of anti-competitive practices, crapping on consumers, and being a general a-hole whenever they could (and even when they couldn't) get away with it.

You see, we trust Steam. We've all benefited from the way Steam has implemented their DRM. Steam broke through the establishment walls and are were able to deliver first rate titles at massive discounts, their sales are legendary. Their support first rate. I can't even remember the last time I had an issue with Steam.

We didn't trust Microsoft. Maybe that's not good enough for you, but I think that's just how it is.


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 2:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
I would love the Steam model on consoles. I was hoping the MS plan was a step in that direction. Maybe the indie store will have Steam-like gems. Too early to tell. But if consoles are going to stick with the dumbed down shooter as their calling card, I'll be skipping both the Xbox One and the PS4.


RE: funny
By ResStellarum on 1/16/2014 5:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Exactly,funny the same people who are bashing MS over this are often the ones most excited about the SteamBox.

A Steambox is nothing like what the Xbone was going to be.

1. It's running a Linux distro, Debian to be exact. The Xbone software is completely proprietary.
2. Steam itself has an offline mode and doesn't require always online DRM like the Xbone 180 did.
3. The hardware is open and completely upgradeable / replaceable. It's basically a mini form factor PC. The Xbone is not designed as an open hardware platform. You can't build your own and install the Xbone software.
4. Steamboxes don't come with an NSA spy cam (Kinect).


RE: funny
By gamerk2 on 1/16/2014 1:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
Just download it; that's what I do for my PS3/PS4. I haven't used a physical disk in years.

Just look at the NBA 2k servers; they went down for over a week, and every single gameplay mode ended up disabled except for quick play. Woops.


RE: funny
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 2:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That’s an awesome feature that’s gone because everyone freaked out.


No it's gone because Microsoft is petty and short-sighted. They could and should have allowed this option if you WANTED it.

Everyone "freaked out" because Microsoft's original plan allowed for no choice. It was this all or nothing in your face douchehammer designed to beat the consumers into submission.

What technical reason is there why people like you can't download games, and others can't purchase game disks if they want? None!

And while I can't identify with them, because I've always been fortunate to have broadband access, there were people who definitely would have been disenfranchised entirely with their original plans for the console.


RE: funny
By inighthawki on 1/16/2014 2:24:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm fairly certain the old model very much allowed for the purchase of physical game media for installation purpose, with an "activation" and DRM scheme similar to that of Steam. Effectively, the ability to do both.


RE: funny
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 2:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm fairly certain the old model very much allowed for the purchase of physical game media for installation purpose


You know what, I've lost track of how many versions of the truth of how the Xbox One was going to be. It seemed like every day Microsoft was making a statement on some features change, redacting this, backpeddaling from that, I just lost track.

If what you are saying is true, they obviously did a VERY piss poor job of communicating this to the public. Because their original statements about the console were just...disastrous.


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 2:54:29 PM , Rating: 1
Too be honest, MS often does a piss poor job of communicating anything with the consumer. The Zune was a much better media player than the iPod, but almost no one knew about it.


RE: funny
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2014 3:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
So true. I loved my Zune Classic. Then I stepped up to a Zune HD, and shortly after they killed support for it entirely!

quote:
MS often does a piss poor job of communicating anything with the consumer


lol yeah seriously. Unless it's communicating their disdain for the customers it seems...


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 3:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
MS has always been an enterprise company first. I don't think they even know how to speak consumerese.


RE: funny
By inighthawki on 1/16/2014 3:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If what you are saying is true, they obviously did a VERY piss poor job of communicating this to the public. Because their original statements about the console were just...disastrous.

Without a doubt. Microsoft definitely needs improvements on communication and marketing. It is by far their weakest point.


RE: funny
By retrospooty on 1/16/2014 4:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
"I was super excited at the idea of not having to go hunting for CD’s when I wanted to play a game. That’s an awesome feature that’s gone because everyone freaked out. "

Not the case at all. MS took away the nice online sharing when people wanted the offline mode and to be able to sell give away CD's... That in no way HAD to be done. That was MS's spiteful move. There is absolutely no funtional reason why both wouldnt work at the same time its not an "either or" type of situation, except that MS made it that way.


RE: funny
By Samus on 1/16/2014 6:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention Sony is the FATHER of DRM. From ATRAC (Minidisc) to CSS (Sony-lead DVD Forum protection) to XCP (rootkits) you can point the finger at Sony for inventing it, and in many cases, making it the norm.

Hell, even Bluray has ridiculous DRM. That's why HD-DVD didn't win, because it used the same (long since cracked) copy protection as DVD's, and that was one of the things Sony wanted changed.


RE: funny
By ie5x on 1/17/2014 2:29:52 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
the idea of not having to go hunting for CD’s when I wanted to play a game
Maybe you should talk to anyone who bought SimCity 2013. There's a reason EA PR is heavily announcing the offline mode.


RE: funny
By kleinma on 1/16/2014 2:13:35 PM , Rating: 2
I bet you lose a lot of bets.


RE: funny
By Arsynic on 1/17/2014 9:26:29 AM , Rating: 1
You're an idiot. How the fuck did you come to this bullshit conclusion?


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 1:30:42 PM , Rating: 1
Probably healthier than Apple will be in the same time period. MS has more than consumers to fall back on. People like you have been predicting the demise of MS for 20 years now.


RE: funny
By melgross on 1/16/2014 1:38:00 PM , Rating: 1
I doubt that very much. In fact, most people would doubt that. It's Apple that has caused this problem for Microsoft. Apple isn't looking for monopoly status as Microsoft needs to maintain itself. Even Macs have shown growth this year, small though it was.

You're saying this because you want it to be true. But Microsoft is in big trouble. After paying developers to write apps for their products, because they couldn't get them the normal ways, they will now pay phone makers $2.6 billion to make Win Phones. Sheesh!


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/16/2014 1:46:36 PM , Rating: 2
MS is only in trouble in the mobile space. MS still owns enterprise. They are still massively profitable. And they have the highest share price they have had since the dot.com bubble burst. Apple's major business has been the iOS line of devices for several years now, and Samsung has been beating them pretty badly in mobile lately. Apple needs mobile way more than MS does.


RE: funny
By bsd228 on 1/16/2014 4:56:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
MS is only in trouble in the mobile space. MS still owns enterprise. They are still massively profitable.


They are highly profitable, largely from Windows and Office sales. But they are in trouble.

My company (over 10k people) recently dumped Exchange for gmail, and we concurrently run Office and Google docs, but I rarely use the former when I have better sharing capabilities with the latter. My primary desktop is linux, with a Windows 7 VM (for Outlook, and for GotoMeeting), and my laptop is OSX. It already nearly a policy decision to dump Windows entirely.

An experienced Excel user can do some pretty crazy awesome stuff with it, but for the usage done by most, it hasn't changed markedly in over a decade. OpenOffice or google docs can easily replace it. And that's the problem for MS - their competitive advantage is fading in the markets they dominate, and they're dead in the water in new ones. The only reason they make any money in mobile is via legal extortion against android headset makers.


RE: funny
By troysavary on 1/17/2014 5:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
They are in trouble because your company uses gmail? And you have Linux, which apparently isn't meeting your needs, since you are running Windows in a VM. I'm sure MS is crying now.


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