NEWS - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another Xbox Live Arcade Leader Splits

XBLA figurehead Canessa left Microsoft in early February to join casual game developer PopCap, but Microsoft insists that the departure of the two prominent figures doesn’t mean the XBLA program is stumbling. “The Xbox Live Arcade business has never been better,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Next-Gen. “We have strong leadership and an amazing team that continues to work hard to provide the best games possible to our Xbox Live Arcade community.” The rep also said that Microsoft will continue to work with Canessa and Erickson on a partnership level, as both PopCap and Sierra Online already have XBLA presence. Erickson said, that he is leaving his XBLA post as worldwide games portfolio manager to become VP of content acquisition at Sierra Online. While at Microsoft, Erickson worked on a number of games including Amped, Links, Top Spin and several casual titles on MSN Games, Messenger and XBLA. As for a replacement for Erickson, the rep said that "all [Microsoft] knows at this point is that [Erickson’s] assignments have been directed to other members of the Developer Relations Group," which is seeking to add to the XBLA team in the future. The rep also said that Bryan Trussel, director of Platform Game Services, is heading up management’s search for a new general manager to replace Canessa. Vivendi subsidiary Sierra Online is beginning to seriously dig its heels into the console downloadable games market. Earlier today, Vivendi announced the acquisition of Wanako Games, the Chile-based developer behind the Xbox Live Arcade game Assault Heroes. Erickson will formally leave Microsoft on February 23.

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