Microsoft taps 'Minecraft' leader to run its game studios

Matt Booty will take over now that Phil Spencer has moved up.

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Reuters/Kevork Djansezian
Reuters/Kevork Djansezian

Now that Phil Spencer is managing Microsoft's broader game platform strategy, who's going to fill his shoes? Now we know: Microsoft has appointed Matt Booty, the overseer of the company's Minecraft teams, as the corporate VP of Microsoft Studios. He'll watch over all of Microsoft's own game publishing efforts, including Halo's 343 Industries, Gears of War's The Coalition and Forza's Turn 10. This isn't just about handing over the keys, though -- as Spencer explained to VentureBeat, it's also about improving the company's first-party game business.

Microsoft knows its list of Xbox-exclusive games leaves something to be desired, and it's committing more resources to that area. Booty's new role helps create a unified leadership structure that theoretically helps the studios move more quickly and produce more of those desirable titles. The role covers mobile and PC titles by extension, so it won't be shocking if there are more coordinated multi-platform releases at the same time.

There's no certainty that Microsoft will enjoy a renaissance, and you probably won't see the results of this executive shuffle for quite some time. Should it work as promised, though, it could lead to faster turnaround times for games and more projects. That won't solve all of the Xbox One's library problems, as one of Microsoft's biggest challenges is convincing others to create Xbox-only titles. It might, however, reduce the company's dependence on third parties.

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