Earlier this month, I presented my management with the news that, after a total of eight years, four months of employment with Microsoft, I was leaving to take my independent game development company, 4gency, full-time as its founder and CEO. As I have a fondness for the written word, and have only had the privilege to write a few of these kinds of documents in my career of twelve years, I thought it might be an interesting read for others to understand why I’m making this move.September 16th, 2013
To: XXXXXXXX, Principal Program Manager Lead
From: Charles Cox, Senior Program Manager
There are entities in our universe whose sheer size and enormity of being renders mankind speechless, save to make the words sufficient to marvel at their vastness and all the possibilities that lie within. The Grand Canyon falls into this category, as do certain very large pizzas.
As do opportunities.
There is no question in my mind that the adventure we have been on with Xbox One has been the greatest, most challenging of my career so far, and yet, a dream, nurtured since childhood, looms ever larger ahead of me, demanding I take action: to dive in as full-time founder of my own independent game studio. The time is right, the plan is set, and in true indie fashion, the passion is unstoppable. The parachute, of course, is nonexistent, but those things are overrated. Ask anybody.
Now, they’ll say I’m crazy. Nine out of every ten new ventures fail, but these impossible odds make the journey worth taking. The call of entrepreneurship will not cease. I can hear it now. It sounds a bit like bagpipes going through a cheese grater at the moment but folks who know have assured me it gets better. I will be making games in the Wild West of indie development, panning for gold in the New Yukon shallows of our age, and I hold hope my claim is good.
They’ll ask how this is possibly a good idea, making games with a unknowably small chance of success, with no safety net to attenuate the inevitable risks. While there aren’t any guarantees, what I know is that I’ve been making games ever since I was a young boy, and the voice, the drive to create just keeps getting louder, year after year. These are stories I have to tell; there’s no more waiting.
They’ll wonder why now, right on the heels of an amazing review year and promotion. Such a reward also forces a reality of scale: there will be no two ways about my next step. If I do not deliver results at my maximum, at my 100% best, I will fail. This rules out moonlighting: the demands of Senior level will quickly cull those that bisect their efforts; I will not disservice Microsoft by pretending otherwise.
And so, I hereby announce my resignation from Microsoft Corporation, effective close-of-business Friday, September 27th 2013, giving me roughly two weeks from the date of this delivery to ensure things run smoothly in my absence. To save time, if they ask where I’m going, the phrases “off a cliff” or “some crazy indie stuff” can be used interchangeably.
It has been my very great honor to work with you, to learn from your leadership, to serve with this incredible team, to ship amazing products, to inspire and educate the world’s best developers, and to change the world of entertainment.
And, I’m sure it won’t be the last time. We will meet again.
Charles N. Cox
Senior Program Manager, Xbox Advanced Technology Group