Microsoft Exec Jumps Ship

Chris SatchellMicrosoft has lost key interactive entertainment executive Chris Satchell to gaming machine manufacturer International Game Technology.

Satchell, who spent seven years at Microsoft, most recently served as chief technology officer of the company's interactive entertainment business, where he was responsible for technical strategy and execution across its video gaming businesses, including Xbox, Games for Windows, Xbox LIVE and Microsoft Game Studios.

Along with manufacturing slot machines, the Reno, Nevada-based IGT also has an online and mobile gaming division.

At IGT, Satchell is filling the newly added position of chief technology officer, where he will have direct management responsibility for the company's information systems team, research and development, and the advanced software architecture group.

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"He will play an instrumental role in shaping our strategic and tactical technological vision and refocusing our internal technology support on many levels within the organization," IGT CEO Patti Hart

The loss comes at a critical time for Microsoft, which continues to face stiff competition in the world of gaming.

Hoping to challenge Nintendo's popular Wii, the company is presently building buzz around "Project Natal" -- a video camera that captures a player's movements to control a game slated to hit shelves later this year.

Microsoft is also highlighting a forthcoming title from its popular "Halo" franchise coming later this year, along with another action game called "Crackdown 2."

Prior to his role as CTO of Microsoft's interaction entertainment business, Satchell held a number of other high-level positions at Microsoft, including serving as general manager of its XNA game development platforms and services group, director of engineering for Microsoft Game Studios, and development manager for Studio RX.

Previously, Satchell held positions of executive director and engineering director at the 3DO Company and technical director at Silicon Dreams.

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