If you are at all involved in gaming, you'll likely recognize the name and even the full introduction, "Larry Hryb, Xbox Live's Major Nelson." He was the man that was usually out front for Microsoft when it came to the Xbox brand. He was at E3. He was at CES. He was on stage. He was on streams. Everywhere that mattered, Major Nelson was there. That will no longer be the case, as Larry Hryb has announced his departure from Microsoft.
In the beginning, there was music
When Hryb joined Microsoft in 2001, he was the Editor-in-Chief of MSN Music. In that role, he tried to get Microsoft's publishing ambitions off the ground. His focus on music and entertainment led to growth under his leadership. However, when he was offered a Senior Project Management role in the new Xbox division, he jumped on it.
Xbox Live's Major Nelson
Hryb became synonymous with the Xbox brand, and his Xbox Live gamertag became his corporate identity. He used his focus on entertainment o contribute to the early days of Xbox Live, the Xbox 360 user experience, achievements, party chat, in-game messaging, and more. But, when he became the senior director of corporate communications in 2012, everyone knew who he was.
It seemed he was everywhere. He was the face of the brand and the life of the party. During CES 2012, he was live tweeting the Microsoft press event, and his commentary was so popular that people were complaining because his tweets were ahead of the stream, so in essence he was making the announcements for Microsoft to the gaming community.
His focus on entertainment, which he brought into the MSN Music brand, never changed. During his tenure, the Xbox brand became a powerhouse of entertainment, not just gaming. Suddenly you could watch Netflix and Hulu after you were done playing Halo. Xbox even launched 1 vs 100, the most interesting online game experience I've ever had. It did become the center of your home entertainment experience, just as then-CEO Steve Ballmer envisioned.
On to new things
Major Nelson announced his departure from the company this week in a tweet, saying,
After 20 incredible years, I have decided to take a step back and work on the next chapter of my career. As I take a moment and think about all we have done together, I want to thank the millions of gamers around the world who have included me as part of their lives.
While we may not know what the next chapter of his career will hold, he has said to stay tuned because the journey is not over. That is a good thing because Larry Hryb has had a huge impact on gamers across 3 generations of Xbox consoles. Hopefully, wherever he lands, he will be able to make the same major impact that he has at Microsoft over the past 2 decades.