Xbox Head Bach Retires, J Allard Departs Microsoft

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Posted by MattBodega (2277 posts) -

 Robbie Bach, former Xbox department head     
 Robbie Bach, former Xbox department head     
The men who brought you the Xbox and Xbox 360 are leaving Microsoft.
 
News blog Techflash has obtained a memo confirming that Robbie Bach, the head of the Xbox department at Microsoft, and J Allard, the executive behind both the Xbox 360 and the Zune, have departed Microsoft. The memo, sent from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to employees, reports that Bach is retiring after 22 years at Microsoft. J Allard's departure from the company is relegated to a single line in the memo, and while no official reason is given, unofficial reports indicate that Allard's departure is tied to the cancellation of his former project, a Microsoft-developed tablet PC to compete with the iPad. Both executives will stay with Microsoft until the fall, and Allard will continue to "advise" Steve Ballmer about products in the future, but their direct involvement with anything Microsoft is just about over.  
 
So, yeah, a couple of executives are leaving/being politely yet firmly asked to leave Microsoft. No need to cry for these two millionaires; I'm sure they've been well compensated over their tenure at Microsoft. But let's take a step back and just appreciate what these guys were able to do, not just for Microsoft, but for video games. 
 
These are the folks who brought us the Xbox and the Xbox 360. Think about everything that happened to video games because of those two consoles:

 
 My buddy J, proving once and for all the fly-itude of suit jacket plus hoodie.
 My buddy J, proving once and for all the fly-itude of suit jacket plus hoodie.
We're talking about features and franchises so ingrained into our interpretation of modern video games that they're practically synonymous with video games. Can you even imagine what video games would be like without the achievement points metagame? Without friends lists and party chat? Without Master Chief? You may not love every single development that occurred in video games because of the Xbox, but you would be foolish to deny their importance, how central the Xbox has become to the production of video games. And the two men responsible for making the Xbox are now leaving, having radically altered the course of the medium. Not too shabby at all.
 
So, Robbie Bach and J Allard, I salute you. You folks done good. Ain't a day that goes by that I don't appreciate your work. 
 
Oh, and if you want to let Allard know directly how you feel about his work, send him a friend request on Xbox Live. His gamertag is HiroProtagonist, and he's always ready to throw down. I hear he loves the Xbox. He signed up on day one!
 
How do you guys feel? Do you want to thank Robbie and J for the good times or curse them for the red rings?
Avatar image for mattbodega
#1 Posted by MattBodega (2277 posts) -

 Robbie Bach, former Xbox department head     
 Robbie Bach, former Xbox department head     
The men who brought you the Xbox and Xbox 360 are leaving Microsoft.
 
News blog Techflash has obtained a memo confirming that Robbie Bach, the head of the Xbox department at Microsoft, and J Allard, the executive behind both the Xbox 360 and the Zune, have departed Microsoft. The memo, sent from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to employees, reports that Bach is retiring after 22 years at Microsoft. J Allard's departure from the company is relegated to a single line in the memo, and while no official reason is given, unofficial reports indicate that Allard's departure is tied to the cancellation of his former project, a Microsoft-developed tablet PC to compete with the iPad. Both executives will stay with Microsoft until the fall, and Allard will continue to "advise" Steve Ballmer about products in the future, but their direct involvement with anything Microsoft is just about over.  
 
So, yeah, a couple of executives are leaving/being politely yet firmly asked to leave Microsoft. No need to cry for these two millionaires; I'm sure they've been well compensated over their tenure at Microsoft. But let's take a step back and just appreciate what these guys were able to do, not just for Microsoft, but for video games. 
 
These are the folks who brought us the Xbox and the Xbox 360. Think about everything that happened to video games because of those two consoles:

 
 My buddy J, proving once and for all the fly-itude of suit jacket plus hoodie.
 My buddy J, proving once and for all the fly-itude of suit jacket plus hoodie.
We're talking about features and franchises so ingrained into our interpretation of modern video games that they're practically synonymous with video games. Can you even imagine what video games would be like without the achievement points metagame? Without friends lists and party chat? Without Master Chief? You may not love every single development that occurred in video games because of the Xbox, but you would be foolish to deny their importance, how central the Xbox has become to the production of video games. And the two men responsible for making the Xbox are now leaving, having radically altered the course of the medium. Not too shabby at all.
 
So, Robbie Bach and J Allard, I salute you. You folks done good. Ain't a day that goes by that I don't appreciate your work. 
 
Oh, and if you want to let Allard know directly how you feel about his work, send him a friend request on Xbox Live. His gamertag is HiroProtagonist, and he's always ready to throw down. I hear he loves the Xbox. He signed up on day one!
 
How do you guys feel? Do you want to thank Robbie and J for the good times or curse them for the red rings?
Avatar image for zirilius
#2 Posted by Zirilius (1441 posts) -

OMG NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Avatar image for pbhawks45
#3 Posted by pbhawks45 (819 posts) -

Poor J.

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#4 Posted by cooljammer00 (2892 posts) -

Bury the suit jacket/sweat shirt combo.

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#5 Posted by deactivated-58c3985c661d1 (2120 posts) -

Good article intern ;) You highlighted their contributions quite clearly, which are pretty integral to gaming as we know it today. I certainly do salute them. they did good

Avatar image for kontrapunkt
#6 Posted by Kontrapunkt (423 posts) -

All legends must come to an end, salute.

Avatar image for ectoplasma
#7 Edited by ectoplasma (1218 posts) -

Your news items are just too long for me. 
Also: Maximum verbosity.

Avatar image for colin
#8 Posted by Colin (709 posts) -

WTF SHIT FUCK, oh wait I'm ok with this.
Avatar image for hamz
#9 Posted by Hamz (6899 posts) -

Can you confirm rumours that Brad Shoemaker has taken time off work to come to terms with the sudden news of J.Allard's departure?
 
Otherwise nice read :)

Avatar image for machofantastico
#10 Posted by MachoFantastico (6285 posts) -

I order two days of mourning for the very sad news. 

Avatar image for gabha
#11 Posted by gabha (404 posts) -

I was really, really hoping that Brad would report this :(

Avatar image for camurai
#12 Posted by Camurai (291 posts) -

They have done nothing but great things for gaming and I salute them as well.

Avatar image for wolf_blitzer85
#13 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5441 posts) -

Awesome article. I am really digging all these news articles and stuff. Thanks new guys!

Avatar image for cube
#14 Posted by Cube (4385 posts) -

Not a fan of Allard at all, I always thought he came off as a dick. 

Avatar image for theyear20xx
#15 Posted by TheYear20XX (440 posts) -

Someone should tell J Allard to buy the Alan Wake outfit for his avatar for the full effect.

Avatar image for robj
#16 Posted by RobJ (404 posts) -

Well this sucks. After all the enjoyment I have had with the Xbox and the 360 I have to salute them as well.

Avatar image for skrutop
#17 Edited by skrutop (3812 posts) -

Fair thee well, you magnificent bald bastard.  I shall don my hoodie and blazer in tribute to your amazingness.
 
You think they'd give him a shower cap if he went in for surgery?
 
Also, is it just me, or does that picture of Robbie Bach look like a perp shot from an Amber alert?

Avatar image for man_flannel
#18 Posted by MAN_FLANNEL (2472 posts) -

A Microsoft tablet would be a waste of time anyways.  It wouldn't get any support after launch and nobody would buy it.  Just like the Zune HD...the thing has like 18 apps.  

Avatar image for meatsim
#19 Posted by MeatSim (11140 posts) -

Are chances of seeing J Allard on stage at the Microsoft press conference just went to shit.

Avatar image for ghostiet
#20 Posted by Ghostiet (5832 posts) -

Despite my hatred for Halo, it would be hard to imagine today's gaming without Master Chief.

Though I have no difficulty in imagining today's gaming without DLC.

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#21 Posted by elcalavera (382 posts) -

Without J. Allard, no Alan Wake. Calling it.

Avatar image for daveyo520
#22 Posted by Daveyo520 (7748 posts) -

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
Avatar image for jjweatherman
#23 Posted by JJWeatherman (14929 posts) -

I read about this rumor a while ago, sucks that it's true.

Avatar image for creamypies
#24 Posted by Creamypies (4169 posts) -

Dang...

Avatar image for mythdark
#25 Posted by MythDarK (738 posts) -

Hmm, ok, yeah. Life goes on.

Avatar image for prda
#26 Posted by prda (2 posts) -

 Just to set the record straight, the Xbox isn't the reason Halo exists. Halo was well into development as a PC FPS when Microsoft stepped in with a big wad of cash to make it Xbox exclusive (or at least a timed exclusive).

Avatar image for ch13696
#27 Posted by ch13696 (4760 posts) -

And like I give a damn. 

Avatar image for mordi
#28 Posted by mordi (582 posts) -

Remember when we used to play games offline? How dumb was that?! lol!

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#29 Posted by get2sammyb (6686 posts) -

Who are all these new GiantBomb writers? Is there going to be a more dedicated news team here now?

Avatar image for duketogo
#30 Posted by DukeTogo (1516 posts) -

As much as I disliked the original XBOX, I can't deny that it brought forth a huge influx of how games are done now.  Imagine if we all were still stuck with Japanese-centric gaming.  The PS2 - while capable of doing much of what the XBOX could - largely ignored things like voice chat, hard drive functionality, dedicated online matchmaking, DLC, user profiles.  Not until the PS3 did Sony finally embrace these, and only because the XBOX and 360 made them an expected feature of a modern console.

Avatar image for jimbo
#31 Posted by Jimbo (10472 posts) -

So they mostly made a bunch of existing PC stuff work on a cheap, standardized PC.  Twice.  Then entered two console races with them and lost both times.  Then moved on to the Zune?  
 
There's a reason he's "leaving to spend more time with this family" or whatever, take your pick.  I think you're perhaps overselling how much gaming owes to these guys a bit.

Avatar image for olivaw
#32 Posted by Olivaw (1287 posts) -

Holy shit, J Allard is gone?
 
I don't even own a 360 and that seems like earth-shattering news.

Avatar image for the_purgatory_station
#33 Posted by the_purgatory_station (471 posts) -

i'm trying not to cry Bodega.  TRY ING  :) 
 
yeah havent heard from these 2 in a while so i guess this was bound to happen.  hope to see what they're working on in the near future. 
suit jacket w/ hoodie.  wow

Avatar image for mysteriousbob
#34 Posted by MysteriousBob (6262 posts) -
@Ghostiet said:
"

Despite my hatred for Halo, it would be hard to imagine today's gaming without Master Chief. "

Yeah, it would be so much better without the bland, emotioness prick. 
 
I'm a 360 owner myself- I just hate Halo.
Avatar image for scratch
#35 Edited by Scratch (647 posts) -
Avatar image for evilsbane
#36 Posted by Evilsbane (5561 posts) -

/salute

Avatar image for thejoker138
#37 Posted by TheJoker138 (103 posts) -

As someone who bought and enjoyed everything Allard was involved with at the company (I had an Xbox, bought a 360 on launch day, and have had every model of Zune since the Zune 30gb on it's launch day, with a HD on the way right now) I'm really sad to see him go.  The Courier sounded interesting, and I probably would have picked it up when it came out too.

Avatar image for sersie
#38 Posted by Sersie (36 posts) -
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#39 Posted by darkjester74 (1655 posts) -

This is huge news.  Only time will tell how this will affect the Xbox division at Microsoft.  But having it roll up directly under Steve?  Scary shit man...

Avatar image for zombie2011
#40 Edited by zombie2011 (5502 posts) -

How much does MS pay these dudes? It seems like as soon as they come into the spotlight they retire. Except this dude has been around for a while.

Avatar image for spiritof
#41 Posted by Spiritof (2326 posts) -

My reaction can only be expressed in song:
 

Avatar image for silverarrows
#42 Posted by SilverArrows (104 posts) -
@Jimbo said:
"So they mostly made a bunch of existing PC stuff work on a cheap, standardized PC.  Twice.  Then entered two console races with them and lost both times.  Then moved on to the Zune?    There's a reason he's "leaving to spend more time with this family" or whatever, take your pick.  I think you're perhaps overselling how much gaming owes to these guys a bit. "

That is a little bit of an over simplification. Before the Xbox, gaming had been around for a while (PC and console), but they made Xbox Live what it is today. They standardized Friends List, the concept of playing with Parties, got Halo and Gears franchises to the forefront ..... and most of all, MS became the only non-Japanese hardware manufacturer of consoles. Their vision to achieve all this should not be over looked, and maybe with Natal, MS will bring in bigger revolution .... for which, Robbie will receive credit too.  
Under their leadership, MS broke Sony's stong partnership with EA, Rockstar, Square Enix, which went a long way to making the Xbox Library what it is today. Imagine, that in the last generation, Sony killed the dreamcast because of that, and would have killed the Xbox too, had it not been for MS managing to get so many Xboxes out there, so that developers had to take notice (throwing money at them also helped :)) 
 
Not to say they didn't make their mistakes, but it is still a huge loss of MS.
Avatar image for adsapien
#43 Posted by AdSapien (122 posts) -

From purely an achievement point of view those two were surely titans in our world.  They were proof that the Japanese cadre of Miyamoto, Kojima and the like didn't have such a complete grasp on the market. 
On a personal note, J Allard was proof that bald men look good.

Avatar image for milkman
#44 Posted by Milkman (18913 posts) -
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#45 Posted by themartyr (723 posts) -

What does the J stand for?

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#46 Posted by sodiumCyclops (2778 posts) -
@themartyr said:
" What does the J stand for? "
Judy
Avatar image for waywardgamer
#47 Posted by WaywardGamer (81 posts) -
@prda: This. This is not entirely true. There is a reason why Bungie overhauled Halo when they moved development onto the Xbox, and timed exclusive is not that. After all, Bungie never made a PC version of Halo. They handed development of that off to Gearbox so they could continue their more localized development on the Xbox of further franchise releases. Selling Bungie's reasons short is a misstep into the realm of assumption. We can't say for sure that the only reason they made it for the Xbox is because Microsoft acquired them. Bungie themselves have said that  part of the reason why they wanted to create the game on the new console was to take advantage of its Live service. Halo was even developed with this in mind. Sadly, Live was not up and running by the time their development window had started to close, so it was never made Live compatible.
Avatar image for drewbs
#48 Posted by Drewbs (2794 posts) -

Today is a sad day.

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#49 Posted by FuzzYLemoN (1609 posts) -

It is a bleak day for the disciples of J.

Avatar image for marz
#50 Posted by Marz (6018 posts) -

Sony should hire them to design the next playstation.

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