NEWS - Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Ed Fries Leaves Microsoft & Xbox

Dear, Under the leadership of Ed Fries, vice president of games publishing, Microsoft Game Studios has earned a reputation as a premier games developer and publisher. So it is with regret that I inform you that I have reluctantly accepted Ed’s resignation, who after 18 years of service to Microsoft, has made the decision to leave the company and pursue other goals. Ed’s top lieutenant, Shane Kim, will serve as acting chief of Microsoft Game Studios until such time that a permanent successor can be named. Shane will report directly to me and will have full authority to make decisions on behalf of MGS just as Ed did. Shane is a 14-year Microsoft veteran who has truly earned his stripes in the games industry by working closely with Ed over the past 8 years most recently as chief operating officer of MGS, in addition to managing various studios and other MGS development and business groups. I have every confidence that with Shane’s leadership, strategic acumen, business savvy and competitive spirit, MGS will continue to deliver top-quality titles for Xbox and Games for Windows. Although I’m saddened by Ed’s departure, the occasion provides a unique opportunity to celebrate his impressive contribution to the company – a career that spans nearly two decades: In 1985, Ed joined Microsoft as an intern in the Applications group, responsible for upgrading a system used to create and display online tutorials. Just shy of twenty years later, Ed’s responsibilities had grown to include managing a team of more than 1200 programmers, designers, artists and producers across several continents. In 1995, Ed joined Microsoft Game Studios and began developing publishing relationships with some of the industry’s most renowned game developers including Ensemble Studios; BioWare, Gas Powered Games, FASA Studios; Relic Entertainment, Inc., Lionhead Studios, Bizarre Creations Ltd., Big Huge Games and Rare Ltd. Under Ed’s tutelage, MGS has produced some of the industry’s most innovative and influential game franchises for both the Xbox and Games for Windows platforms. Among the most notable: Flight Simulator, Combat Flight Simulator, Age of Empires, Rise of Nations, Zoo Tycoon, Halo, Mech Assault, Crimson Skies and Project Gotham Racing 1 and 2. In the early days of Xbox, Ed was instrumental in locking down support from third-party developers, and in the process producing a robust game library that includes blockbusters from UbiSoft, LucasArts, THQ, Activision, Konami, Infogrames (now Atari), Electronic Arts and many others. Ed’s work evangelizing the platform drove our early success and laid important groundwork for our current number two market position worldwide. Above all else, Ed understood the importance of filling the MGS stables with talented, passionate and visionary developers, which is why he orchestrated the acquisition of three of the best development teams in the word: Bungie Studios, Ensemble Studios, and Rare Ltd. Because of Ed’s efforts, Microsoft Games Studios has never been stronger. Sales of Project Gotham Racing 2, Counter-Strike and Crimson Skies added up to our best holiday on record, and we’re in great position to maintain our strong momentum with highly-anticipated games like Fable, Halo2 and True Fantasy Live Online (in Japan) on the horizon. Ed leaves Microsoft Game Studios on a solid path with a great strategy. Shane Kim and his team will continue along that path working toward the goal of making epic, breakthrough titles that meet the demands of our most enthusiastic gamers, as well as those that continue to broaden our audience. Although we’ll miss Ed, we hope he takes this opportunity to sit back, relax, and allow himself a moment to relish the contribution he’s made to the company and the industry. We wish him the very best, and look forward to Shane carrying forth the scepter of excellence and innovation. Best regards, Robbie Bach Senior Vice President Chief Xbox Officer Microsoft Corporation

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