If you follow Nintendo’s indie scene closely, you ought to be familiar with Damon Baker. In the past few years, he’s risen to the top of Nintendo’s independent developer relations, working with small-time developers and appearing on multiple “Nindies” presentations. But after 12 years with Nintendo, Damon has left for greener (literally) pastures.
In a short tweet sent out this afternoon, Damon quickly mentioned that he has officially shifted to a head position at Xbox. You can see the full tweet below:
Hey all, overdue news to share. Been soaking up knowledge this last month as the new Head of Portfolio for #Xbox! Honored and excited to help evaluate all 2nd/3rd party content towards our strategy. Big thanks to @iocat @aarongreenberg @XboxP3 and team. The future looks amazing! pic.twitter.com/isqylqnBGk
— Damon Baker (@DWBakes) January 28, 2019
His new responsibilities at Xbox won’t be all too different than his former job. According to his LinkedIn, Damon will be in charge of “evaluating all 2nd and 3rd Party Publishing and independent developer (ID@Xbox) content for partnerships and opportunities with Microsoft Gaming products & services, including: Game Pass, Mixer, and cloud gaming services.” Much like his decade at Nintendo, he’ll be recruiting small game studios, but now for Xbox!
Microsoft’s Branching Point
Damon is transferring at a time when Microsoft is pushing new studios and projects more than ever before. Xbox has struggled to finagle first-party and third-party exclusives this generation. However, Microsoft announced a bunch of new studios coming under their publishing arm at last year’s E3. These included Hellblade studio Ninja Theory and State of Decay developer Undead Labs. And of course, 2017’s smash-hit Cuphead was an Xbox/PC exclusive, selling over 3 million copies between the two platformers. Microsoft has a huge newfound emphasis on exclusive third-party studios and games. It only makes sense that they hired an executive known for his work with outside studios.
Conveniently enough, Damon doesn’t have all that far to travel. Both Microsoft’s and Nintendo of America’s headquarters are in Redmond, Washington. Redmond is littered with official Microsoft corporate buildings and Xbox swooshes.
While it might be sad to see one of Nintendo’s most notable figures switching sides, please don’t scream chants of “Traitor!” or attempt to hurl a pitchfork at him. Instead, let’s wish the man a successful career at his newfound position. He’s certainly put in the effort to deserve it.
For more on Nintendo, Xbox, and all other things video games, stay tuned to Culture of Gaming.