Peter Moore, the head of Microsoft's gaming business, is leaving to join game maker Electronic Arts.
Peter Moore oversaw the launch of the Xbox 360
For the past four years Mr Moore has been the public face of Microsoft's Xbox and PC gaming business, and oversaw the launch of the Xbox 360.
He will join Electronic Arts as the head of its sports games division which makes some of its most popular titles.
He will be replaced by Don Mattrick, a former EA senior executive who has worked as a consultant at Microsoft.
The news about Mr Moore comes only weeks after Microsoft announced it would be spending $1.15bn to fix faulty Xbox 360 consoles.
Microsoft said nothing should be read into the timing of Mr Moore's departure.
On joining the game firm Mr Moore will receive a $1.5m golden handshake to offset future bonuses he was due from Microsoft.
At the EA division he will oversee the development of popular game franchises such as Madden NFL football, NBA Live and Fifa Soccer. About one-third of EA's revenue comes from sales of sports-related games.
Mr Moore, a Liverpudlian, joins EA shortly after a major re-organisation that saw it split into four divisions in a bid to become more competitive. In its last quarter, EA reported losses of $25m.
Before joining Microsoft in 2003, Mr Moore was president of Sega America and prior to that head of marketing at Reebok International.
He is scheduled to join EA Sports in September whilst Don Mattrick will be on Microsoft's fulltime payroll in August.