[inside xbox]Agostino Simonetta, Director of ID @ Xbox, has left Microsoft to join Thunderful Games

2021-08-06

  With the ID@Xbox program surpassing $2 billion in revenue, Simonetta talks moving to Thunderful and the path to success in indie development.

  Director of global partnership management at ID@Xbox, Agostino Simonetta, has now announced plans to depart Microsoft, joining Thunderful Group under a new leadership role. Simonetta was among pivotal figures leading ID@Xbox, spending seven years on the program, working with developers to publish directly to Xbox consoles, and later Windows PCs. The program has evolved into a gateway for smaller creatives, racking up over 2000 titles launched with its aid since the onset of the generation.

  The ID@Xbox program remains one of Microsoft’s top contributions to independent video games, over the years establishing a direct avenue for developers to launch titles on the Xbox platform. First introduced alongside Xbox One in 2013, headed by director Chris Charla, the initiative bridges the gap between Redmond and creators across the globe.

  Those unfamiliar with ID@Xbox will undoubtedly recognize its output, fundamental to the vibrant indie lineup, many joining the best Xbox games. These projects, each crafted by independent develop, represent some of the platform’s most inventive experiences. It shows no signs of slowing, recently surpassing $2 billion in revenue between the program and partners.

  While Microsoft has embraced indie projects prior to ID@Xbox, the program was a newly-established avenue to its Xbox One consoles. It supported developers with platform-level features “Xbox Game Preview” and the “Xbox Live Creators Program,” providing more opportunities for aspiring Xbox developers. The growth of Xbox Game Pass can even be traced back to ID@Xbox, aiding hundreds of games that launched into the service.

  “I’m not running away from Xbox. I love it. Obviously, Chris [Charla] is leading the team, it’s amazing. I leave my team in great hands and in a very successful state,” Simonetta told Windows Central ahead of the move. “ID[@Xbox] has really established itself as a premium partner for independent developers, very different from when I joined. I’m not taking all the credit, I’m just saying, on this journey, Xbox is doing incredibly well. I think for me, I’m leaving on a high.”

  “I think building an incredibly strong relationship based on trust and respect with the independent community over the years, starting from a slightly challenging day one, has been an incredible achievement. Demonstrating to the industry how Xbox — and not just ID@Xbox — how Xbox was really serious about this space. I think it’s been an incredible achievement. When you look at the commercial [side], over $2 billion in revenue generated for the program and the partners in a program.”

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