UK television star Jonathan Ross has been hired by Microsoft as executive producer responsible for several internal teams across Britain. Executive Phil Harrison has said the move will help “change our thinking”.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Harrison said, “We wanted to bring in new talent that would challenge the way we build games and the way we think about what an audience is and what is entertainment. We want to broaden the concept of gaming to maybe blur the distinctions about what is a traditional game and what is a traditional television programme and what is a traditional linear media. These devices and boxes now allow us to do that in a really meaningful way.”
Ross is a known gamer and his own production company Hotsauce has produced a game before, the iOS title Catcha Catcha Aliens.
In a statement sent to VG247 this morning, Ross said, “I’m thrilled to be joining forces with Microsoft Studios. The explosion in cross-media opportunities and the chance to create and develop entertainment ideas that make the most of both the traditional and the very latest platforms is tremendously exciting. My love of games, movies and TV made this partnership a no-brainer. And they said they’d give me an Xbox One for free, so how could I possibly refuse?”
Head of Microsoft Studio Lift London, Lee Schuneman has worked with Ross over the past few months and said of the experience, “We thought we should try and find someone who can think about gaming, TV, technology and toys and bring all that together.
“I’ve had the pleasure to work with him over the last few months and what I’ve really appreciated is this authenticity and passion and real understanding for what we are as gamers, and the cool films and toys we like. Our ambition is to create these new experiences that join TV and gaming together.”
Meanwhile over at Microsoft’s Redmond HQ, the company is in the market for a creative producer to assist in making transmedia content such as TV shows, films, comics and more for Xbox One’s first-party franchises.
What do you make of Microsoft’s hiring of Ross and the company’s media strategy as a whole?