After 20 years, Major Nelson is leaving Microsoft

Larry Hryb at Xbox Fanfest Mexico, 2023
(Image credit: Larry Hryb (Twitter))

After 20 years at Microsoft, much of it spent as the public face of Xbox consoles, Larry Hryb, better known to gamers around the world as Major Nelson, is leaving the company and moving on to other things.

"After 20 incredible years, I have decided to take a step back and work on the next chapter of my career," Hryb tweeted. "As I take a moment and think about all we have done together, I want to thank the millions of gamers around the world who have included me as part of their lives.

"I want you to all know that every moment I was able to interact with you the community—here on Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, Mixer or at the many events I attended around the world, I cherished every single moment. Every hand shake, every time I got stopped on the streets around a convention (happened a lot), every discussion we had about games and every photo we took together. The real magic in gaming is the community who makes, plays, enjoys and celebrates video games TOGETHER. Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, PC, mobile—I don't care where or how you play—we are ALL one community."

Hryb joined Microsoft in 2001 as the editor-in-chief of MSN Music, but moved to the Xbox program as senior project manager just a couple years later. In that role, he launched the Major Nelson Radio podcast (which eventually became the Official Xbox Podcast) that made him a household name for Xbox owners. In 2012 he became senior director of corporate communications, but maintained his Major Nelson sobriquet, his podcast, and "working in the Xbox division making the coolest gaming platform on the planet," as his LinkedIn page puts it.

(Image credit: PlayStation (Twitter))

Nelson said that he's going to spend some time with his family "and enjoy the Seattle summer," but didn't reveal anything more than that about his future plans except to say that he's "working on a few projects." As for the official Xbox Podcast, it will go on hiatus over the summer and then return in a new format.

From the PC gaming perspective, Nelson wasn't as high profile as Phil Spencer, Microsoft's Xbox boss, who typically takes the lead at E3-style gaming conferences and on major public announcements. But he was a tremendously influential voice for a generation of Xbox gamers, particularly during the 360 era, and was widely admired and respected—to the point that even Microsoft's chief gaming rival paid tribute to his departure.

(Image credit: Larry Hryb (Twitter))
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.