Microsoft’s Kudo Tsunoda now leading Xbox dev teams as part of organization shake-up

Microsoft corporate vice president Kudo Tsunoda, who many Xbox fans likely know as the face of Kinect, is taking a newly expanded role at the company, Microsoft announced today. Tsunoda is now leading “a bunch of Xbox teams,” including Microsoft developers Rare, Lionhead, Twisted Pixel and Lift London, while also working with the teams creating games like Scalebound, Quantum Break and Crackdown.

Tsunoda’s new charter, as Microsoft calls it, “is the set up that gives our teams the best chance for success,” he says in a new video interview.

The announcement of Tsunoda’s new role is one of a handful of organizational changes at the Xbox team. Microsoft Studios general manager Hanno Lemke is moving from Gears of War studio Black Tusk to oversee the company’s U.K. game studios and Danish studio Press Play. John Needham, Lionhead studio head, is moving to Redmond, Washington, to focus on HoloLens development and new Xbox properties. Wil Mozell, general manager of Kinect game studio BigPark, is now working with Black Tusk.

Tsunoda said that we’ll hear “more about what’s going on with [Gears of War] coming up soon.” He also said that he’s personally learned from the experience of launching Kinect for Xbox and how the company makes games for it.

“One of the things I took away from Kinect is that if you’re going to build a new technology or type of experience, how important it is to make sure the first products you ship are really based around the people who are going to use them the most,” Tsunoda said. “In the case of Kinect, the core gamers and the Xbox fans. While we made a lot of broad consumer products, I don’t think we did enough to deliver great core experiences with Kinect. That’s something that going forward — not only with HoloLens, but in the new products within Windows 10 and Xbox — is definitely something I really take to heart.”

Tsunoda added that he’s interested in getting Xbox fans to be more involved in the creation of games, through efforts like early access. Tsunoda’s latest effort at Microsoft, the augmented reality system HoloLens, was revealed earlier this year.