After 18 years working on games for Microsoft, Ed Fries is calling it quits.
The 39-year-old vice president of game publishing for Microsoft has become a well-known figure in both the PC and console gaming arenas. He led Microsoft Game Studios, which has 1,200 employees. His career began as an intern, working on Microsoft Flight Simulator for the PC.
Fries cited personal commitments including the travel requirements of the job and the fact that he has a young child at home as reasons for leaving. He told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter that if he stayed at his current job, he would have felt obligated to stick with Microsoft for the next five years through the next game product cycle. It is widely speculated that a new Xbox will be released in 2005 or 2006, which could be what Fries was referring too.
Shane Kim will take over Fries position on an acting basis until a permanent replacement can be found. Kim is 41-years-old and has been with the company for 14-years including his job as chief operating officer for Microsoft Game Studios.
Fries said he would like to stay in the game industry, and given his reputation and resume, companies will probably be lining up to recruit him. Fries would not say if he has made up his mind where he would like to work next, saying he is not yet in a position to comment on that topic.