Larry Hryb, Xbox’s ‘Major Nelson,’ is leaving Microsoft

Larry Hryb, better known as “Major Nelson” in Xbox circles, tweeted today that he’s leaving Microsoft. Hryb spent many years as one of the most prominent public faces of the brand as Director of Programming for Xbox Live. He didn’t state his reasons for leaving the company but said he plans to step back and work on his career’s next chapter. The move comes as Microsoft tries to close its $68 billion purchase of Activision. “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,” Hryb said.

Hryb spent over two decades with Microsoft, joining the company as editor-in-chief of MSN Music in 2001. But in 2003, when he joined the Xbox division, he found his identity with the company. His public role was a combination of official employee and super fan. His blog posts, podcasts, interviews, unboxings and other various updates straddled the line between a marketing executive and a trusted “gamer’s gamer,” helping fans feel like they had one of their own on the inside at the gaming behemoth.

Xbox had used him less as a face of the company in recent years, but from at least the mid-2000s to the mid-2010s, “Major Nelson” was practically synonymous with the platform. He says he got his gamer handle and public nickname from Larry Hagman’s character in the 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie — after his TiVo recommended it.

Hryb hasn’t yet detailed what his next career chapter is. However, he did note that The Official Xbox Podcast, which he hosted, will take a hiatus this summer and return later “in a new format.”

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