Xbox design head steps down - report

Sources say Don Coyner replaced by Emma Williams, lead on the recent dashboard redesign

Microsoft's Don Coyner has stepped down from his position at the head of the Xbox design and experience group, CNet reports.

According to two unnamed sources within Microsoft, Coyner will be replaced by Emma Williams, who oversaw the recently launched redesign of the Xbox Live dashboard.

Coyner joined Microsoft in 1995, and began working on the first Xbox console as director of marketing in 1999. He assumed responsibility for user experience during the development of the Xbox 360, and is widely credited for improving the aesthetic standards of both the console and Xbox Live.

The sources claim that Coyner will remain at the company, though they did not reveal the nature of his new position.

Williams will be responsible for evolving design strategy for the Xbox group's new console, which the sources confirm will launch in 2013. Microsoft has so far declined to comment on the matter.

The Xbox Live dashboard update implemented the tile-based Metro interface used on Windows Phone 7, expanded the service's multimedia content, and integrated multiple search options.

It is widely regarded as evidence of Microsoft's desire to challenge the idea that the Xbox is primarily a gaming device, eliciting accusations of neglect from the Xbox Live Indie Games community.

Earlier this week, a Bloomberg report suggested that Microsoft is also actively seeking a television executive to produce original content for Xbox Live.

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Latest comments (12)

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
Confirms, if there was ever any doubt, that Live is the real product. The 360 is just a necessary evil to use it.

The Fire is to Amazon what the 360 is to Microsoft. Tools to buy content online.
For Microsoft selling boxed disks via retail is a temporary inconvenience.

The OnLive Micro Console is closer to where Microsoft are heading than the 360 is.
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Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde6 years ago
So how do you read this? A demotion as the new kid takes the top spot? Or has Coyner moved on to better things?

Though I do worry about the future of the Xbox service if Williams is responsible for the future of the Xbox style. How Microsoft could release a UI that is so poorly organised and balanced to the the point it fails to facilitate the core function(s) of the console stumps me.

Cue the Windows Vista/7 jokes.
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Harrison Smith Studying Games and Graphics Programming, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology6 years ago
The next version of xbox interface will play a 30 second ad every time you start up the console.
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Show all comments (12)
Tommy Thompson Studying Artificial Intelligence (PhD), University of Strathclyde6 years ago

Adverts on load screens, particularly between multiplayer matches. 15-30s video as you wait for the next round of CoD or Battlefield.

You heard it here first! ;-)
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Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer 6 years ago
At least they'd be streamed :) PS3 would include a mandatory advert install at the start of all games.
Freshing thinking isn't a bad thing from MS though so why not replace this position.

I find it quite funny that MS originally pitched the xbox as a gaming machine and have added features to make it a multimedia experience. Sony have done the opposite and started with a multipurpose machine and have slowly been cutting functionality to make it a core gaming machine.
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I really dont like this new Dashboard. Its annoying. It makes hard to find my games and much more harder to buy some arcades. I didnt even know where the Xblig is (if it IS somewhere). I want my old dashboard back...
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Rod Oracheski Editor, Star News6 years ago
@Thompson We saw that already actually, in Wipeout.
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Kevin Patterson musician 6 years ago
@Bruce - I cannot see MS making the 360 successor very similar to the Onlive console as you mentioned, at least this next gen anyway. If ISP's try to continue the path of bandwith caps, that would be a bad idea.
What I can see though is a merger of the two, a game experience that runs mostly from local media, but some cloud functionality. Running a demo like Onlive does, quick and fast, is something I see MS doing, as well as Onlive's gamer TV like function. MS wanted that at the 360's launch, didnt happen, but Onlive's Arena is fun to watch from time to time. I can see the possibility of MS allowing Onlive's IPad game streaming as well.
I just hope that MS doesn't go less than 4GB in unified memory, having the next gen kinect work at very close ranges, true 1080p gaming without up converting, and not focusing so hard on the casual-motion gaming market that they don't make a very powerful system.
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Scott Berfield Executive Producer, University of Washington6 years ago
I really think that we are about to enter the last generation of dedicated hardware. No one really wants to make multi-billion dollar investments to develop and promote a new console when the real money is in the content. I would expect the next Xbox to be VERY heavily centered on digital content consumption from day one. One issue they will need to address as they move further from disc-based games is how to structure the business to replace the revenue they will miss from the built-in inefficiencies of the disc business. Digital delivery may be close to a frictionless market, but an awful lot of the money that has allowed the Xbox to flourish has been made by the 3rd Party model that makes money off every disc manufactured with no inventory risk to Microsoft. When we did the 360, we talked a lot about the need to focus on gaming to get the thing out there, with media and social stuff as ancillary. Now that the brand is solid, they probably feel free to go the other way. It's going to be very interesting to watch.
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James Verity6 years ago
If the next Microsoft games console has a messed up dashboard like the 360 now has they can keep it... I hate the clutter of the new dashboard and don't get me started with the ads being rammed down my internet at every option... how about Microsoft paying me for having ads and wasting my internet connection for that use...

Microsoft need to give people the option to turn off things on the dashboard, I only play games offline and online... all I need to see is my avatar, my games, my friends, settings and downloads... oh just give me the old dashboard, that did the job fine!
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Justin King Creative Digital Producer, mattel6 years ago
i like the new interface actually.

i think the ads are a rubbish addition, and i object to the fact that they're pushed onto my console whether i want them or not (though i'm sure its in the EULA i didn't read...again!).

they add nothing. i'll never use them anyway. when they start autoplaying full screen on dashboard load, is the day i give up the xbox.

but i guess ads must work on some people? :o)
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Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios6 years ago
Are the ads different in format on the US dash to the UK? UK dash has just a tiny square on the bottom right of each page running an ad.
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