How Master Chief Be­came Mi­crosoft’s R&D Chief

The games busi­ness doesn’t make a lot of proft, but that’s not the point.

Forbes - - Technology - By david m. ewalt

It’s 11:50 p.m., and Fifth Av­enue is dark on a cold Oc­to­ber Mon­day in Man­hat­tan. The only signs of life come from a new ad­di­tion to the neigh­bor­hood: Mi­crosoft’s fag­ship re­tail out­let opened that morn­ing, and now loud mu­sic and lights spill out from in­side. Pedes­tri­ans peer through the glass at sev­eral hun­dred ex­cited cus­tomers cel­e­brat­ing with a hand­ful of ac­tors in high-tech bat­tle ar­mor.

Mid­night on Oct. 27 was the launch of Halo 5: Guardians, and peo­ple around the world lined up to buy the new­est re­lease in the block­buster sci-f videogame fran­chise. Mi­crosoft owns and pub­lishes the Halo se­ries for its Xbox game con­soles, and when its CEO sees a prod­uct launch like that, he gets ex­cited. “I want peo­ple to move from us­ing to need­ing to lov­ing Win­dows, and that is some­thing that I think Xbox is built around,” said Satya Nadella in an in­ter­view at the E3 videogame con­ven­tion in June—the frst time in eight years a Mi­crosoft CEO has at­tended the industry’s big­gest event. “The fans, the en­gage­ment … those are the things that I want to have trans­lated to other parts of the com­pany.”

A year and a half into his ten­ure as CEO, Nadella has turned out to be one of gam­ing’s big­gest cham­pi­ons—right up there with Halo’s su­per­sol­dier pro­tag­o­nist, Master Chief. Nadella has made big in­vest­ments in gam­ing, in­clud­ing $2.5 bil­lion to ac­quire Mo­jang AB, the Swedish com­pany be­hind Minecraft, the best­selling com­puter game of all time. He has pushed to in­te­grate the Xbox divi­sion, once rel­e­gated to

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