Last remaining Xbox founder leaves Microsoft

Otto Berkes, the last remaining member of the team that envisioned a Microsoft video game console, has left the company today.

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It's the end of an era at Microsoft, according to a report out of the Seattle Times. The last of the Xbox console's founding fathers has tendered his resignation this morning.

Otto Berkes, described as a "soft-spoken Hungarian programmer", was one in a group of four core Microsoft employees with a vision for the computer software giant to create a video game console to compete with Sony's PlayStation 2.

In the article, Ed Fries--former head of Microsoft's games publishing business--recalls Berkes being "one of the crazy guys" that came into his office with the idea for Microsoft to develop a console based on the Windows DirectX technology--dubbed the "Direct X box."

"They talked me into joining up with them and helping to make it happen," Fries said. "It wouldn't have happened without him." Fries and the other founding members of the Direct X box project have since left Microsoft for other opportunities. Berkes, the lone holdout, leaves today.

Though he had been of projects that have both been embraced and killed, Berkes leaves on a good note. "No regrets, but it's time to move on for me," he told the Seattle Times. "I'm very proud of what I was able to accomplish here."

For more on the history of Otto's time at Microsoft, check out the Seattle Times report.

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  • reply
    May 24, 2011 3:55 PM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, Last remaining Xbox founder leaves Microsoft.

    Otto Berkes, the last remaining member of the team that envisioned a Microsoft video game console, has left the company today.

    • reply
      May 24, 2011 4:00 PM

      So who are all of the original "XBox founding fathers"? Berkes, obviously, but also J Allard, Robbie Bach, Seamus Blackley, etc...

      Also note that the XBox was called the "Windows Entertainment Platform" at one point in its development. You know, back when all Microsoft products had "Microsoft" in the product name (I still think of "Microsoft Halo", which was the "Add/Remove Programs" title for Halo PC when it was released in 2003).

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        May 24, 2011 4:19 PM

        Was Ed Fries one of the original founders?

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          May 25, 2011 9:29 AM

          Pretty sure he's doing his own thing with the wow figurines.

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        May 24, 2011 5:04 PM

        In addition to Berkes the article cites Ted Hase explictly as a member of the four "founders". Ed Fries is implied but not explicitly identified. The mystery fourth member is unnamed. That's pretty poor reporting (or just lack of copy editing).

        My bet is Seamus Blackley as the fourth member, but who knows.

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          May 25, 2011 7:37 AM

          J Allard, Rob Bachus, Seamus Blackley, and this Otto Berkes dude.

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            May 25, 2011 7:37 AM

            Ed Fries was in charge of games who the whole project was pitched to.

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      May 25, 2011 7:49 AM

      I wonder if Microsoft sees itself in the future game console market?

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        May 25, 2011 9:28 AM

        Depends on the future economy as well as how the next-gen of consoles fares against game development costs. It's getting really tough to turn a profit nowadays for tons of publishers even with record sales.

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        May 25, 2011 9:30 AM

        Sony makes 50% of the entire company's profits from their entertainment division.

        Sony Pictures, Electronics, Computers, Multimedia... nothing compares to the profits of game licensing and hardware production.

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          May 25, 2011 9:55 AM

          Do you have links to back this up?

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          May 25, 2011 10:12 AM

          Back during the height of the ps2 I'm sure that was true. Not sure about the ps3. In either cast, Sony and microsoft have different business models and I'm not sure Microsoft has even recovered the investment they made in their two consoles.

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      May 25, 2011 9:54 AM

      Where did they all go? Hasn't the Xbox been a pretty huge success for MS?

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      May 25, 2011 11:34 AM

      Thanks for the Xbox guys it's given me tons of fun!