Ross Erickson, (soon-to-be-former) Worldwide Games Portfolio Manager for Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service emailed Joystiq (we go way back) to let us know that he'll be leaving their employ at the end of the week to take the position of Vice President, Content Acquisition at Vivendi Games' Sierra Online division. This news comes coupled with Vivendi's acquisition of Chilean developer, and Assault Heroes' creator, Wanako Games. Sounds like someone has big plans for the digital download space.

Of course, this follows XBLA General Manager Greg Canessa's departure a couple weeks back. While having two of the most senior Xbox Live Arcade execs jump ship in a two week time span after a particularly long string of subpar Wednesdays -- nothing, Ms. Pac-Man, Lumines add-on, nothing, Root Beer Tapper, Paperboy, nothing -- might seem to imply certain disaster, Ross insisted that he and Greg's decided to leave under entirely different circumstances. Though he's leaving, Ross isn't leaving Microsoft in the lurch. He said there's a long list of titles in the pipeline that will run long past his departure ... but we've heard that before. "We certainly have enough games in the pipeline – more than enough, in fact – to achieve that goal on a weekly basis." Alright, so we're not entirely convinced that everything behind-the-scenes at Xbox Live Arcade is puppy dogs and ice cream, but we wish both Ross and Greg best as they continue their casual march to casual gaming world domination.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

Ross Erickson leaves MS for Sierra Online