Top Microsoft game employee jumps to Amazon

A Microsoft employee who played an integral role in the success of the Xbox is taking a new, undisclosed job at Amazon.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Feeding speculation that Amazon.com is planning a gaming push, the company has snagged Microsoft's director of game platform strategy.

Andre Vrignaud announced his departure Friday on his personal blog. "Can't really talk about details at this point, but it'll become pretty evident soon enough...and you all know where my passions lie," he said in the blog.

He added that he is "excited about where Microsoft is going in the next few years" but is "very intrigued about what Amazon is looking to do."

Vrignaud's departure from Microsoft is potentially a major blow to the company. Vrignaud, who has worked in the game industry for more than 20 years, had been at Microsoft since 2002 and helped oversee the game platform strategy for Xbox, Xbox Live, and Windows. During that period, Microsoft has gone from a hopeful contender to a major player in gaming.

Earlier this year, Engadget found that Amazon had posted a job opening for a "stealth project" in its digital video game business. Currently, Amazon lists several game job openings, including a senior product manager posting that mentions the "launch of a new initiative in our digital video games business." So far, Amazon has been tight-lipped about any such plans. But those job openings and Vrignaud's arrival seem to indicate that Amazon has something planned.

Amazon did not immediately respond to request for comment.