Spencer, who joined Microsoft nearly three decades ago, was previously a corporate vice president leading the Xbox team. He’ll continue to oversee Xbox-related projects, but his new title is “executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft.” Spencer will report directly to Nadella.
“In this role, Spencer is accountable for leading Microsoft’s gaming business across all devices and services,” Spencer’s new bio reads. “With his team and game development partners, Spencer continues to push the boundaries of creativity, technical innovation and fun across gaming genres, audiences and devices.”
Microsoft’s gaming arm will continue to share resources with the company’s Windows and Devices Group; there will be no changes to the financial reporting segments.
Spencer was named head of Xbox in March 2014, just after Nadella became CEO, replacing previous leader Marc Whitten. Spencer led the launch of both Xbox One S and Xbox One X and has also helped drive growth for Xbox Live, which now counts 52 million monthly active users.
The promotion, announced today in an email to employees from Nadella, signifies Microsoft’s intention to grow gaming beyond its Xbox business — with Windows 10, esports, Mixer, etc.
In a company-wide memo sent in June, Nadella outlined five core customer solution areas that he wants employees to prioritize. They include modern workplace; business applications; applications and infrastructure; data and AI; and gaming.
Another memo sent to employees by Microsoft executives a few days later detailed a shift in the company’s consumer and commercial businesses; it also noted how gaming is growing across all its device types thanks to the rise of esports, game broadcasting and mixed reality.
Microsoft recently rebranded the Beam streaming service it acquired last year as Mixer and integrated it into Xbox. Mixed reality is also a big area of emphasis for the company, with the HoloLens device and a series of other headsets made by Microsoft partners that are set to debut later this year.
Separately, Microsoft also announced today that its Enterprise Mobility and Security team (EMS) will move from Cloud and Enterprise to the Windows and Devices Group. Its new team name is Enterprise Mobility & Management, which will be led by Brad Anderson, a corporate vice president who previously led EMS.