Microsoft's Chief Architect For Xbox Now Works For Intel

Computer chip maker Intel's logo is shown on a gaming computer display during the opening day of E3, the annual video games expo revealing the latest in gaming software and hardware in Los Angeles
Computer chip maker Intel's logo is shown on a gaming computer display during the opening day of E3, the annual video games expo revealing the latest in gaming software and hardware in Los Angeles, California, U.S., June 11, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Just days after Microsoft stormed E3 with news about its Stadia competitor in xCloud, its new subscription service and the specs of its upcoming PlayStation 5 rival, Project Scarlett, news has surfaced that the architect behind the company's recent next consoles has moved on. 

John Sell, the chief architect of next-gen consoles system on chip (SoC) for Xbox One, Scorpio and Project Scarlett has left Microsoft and taking his talents to Intel, according to sources close to the matter and his LinkedIn profile

According to Sell's LinkedIn profile, Sell left Microsoft to join Intel in May. Sell lists his official title as an Intel fellow, responsible for "Security for Intel Architecture, Graphics, and Software." An Intel spokeswoman confirmed Sell's hire. Sell will report to ex-AMD graphics guru Raja Koduri, senior vice president of the Core and Visual Computing Group at Intel, "focusing on architecture and security innovation," she said. 

The new hire is one of a number of high-profile chip architect additions that Intel has made. It recently hired Raja Koduri, former head of graphics at Advanced Micro Devices; and Jim Keller, who worked on a variety of chips at companies. Sell will report to Koduri and work on security technology. 

Sell was at Microsoft for 14 years, working on system-on-chip designs for the company's gaming hardware. He also worked at 3DO and Apple. 

Here's the interesting thing though, Sell previously worked for AMD. He had been senior fellow of AMD since 1997 to 2005 before he left for Microsoft. From the looks of it, Intel is turning into OG-AMD, even more than AMD itself is right now. The company has been very aggressively hiring talent for a while now and has been poaching people left and right from companies like Tesla, Google and of course AMD and NVIDIA. 

It is clear that the company is positioning itself to have an immense pool of talent to draw from for practically every application. Consoles and SoCs will not be a focus of the company this early on, but eventually, it will almost certainly be and that's where John Sell's skills and experience could add serious value. As an aspiring graphics company, they likely have their eyes on the semi-custom market. 

It is not clear how Sell's departure will affect Microsoft's roadmap for its release of Project Scarlett. For Intel, however, the move is largely a positive and should hopefully help secure the future of all devices brandishing Intel chipsets. 

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