It’s been a busy few weeks for Harvey Eagle, category director of Xbox in the UK and Ireland. The Xbox One X, the most powerful console ever made, was released to huge demand and acclaim, a host of games followed, including the latest in the Forza franchise, and Black Friday saw gamers rushing to grab deals on Xbox consoles. The UK News Centre sat down with Harvey to talk about his role, his favourite Microsoft product and the first piece of technology that he loved.
Name: Harvey Eagle
Role: Xbox UK and Ireland Category Director at Microsoft
Pets: A whippet, named Willow (he has a Twitter account – @whippetwillow)
Hobbies: Football (“I’m a huge Tottenham fan”), wine and food
Tell us about your current role
I head up Xbox for UK and Ireland. I have an amazing team of people whom I work with to market the games and accessories that we bring out, Xbox Live and, of course, Xbox consoles. It’s our job to create excitement among existing fans as well as bring new fans into Xbox.
What were your previous roles?
Prior to Microsoft I spent 10 years in the music industry as a talent scout. I signed Moby to his first major label record deal, and I also signed The Prodigy to their first US record deal. I joined Microsoft to work on the launch of the first Xbox, and was tasked with the advertising for Europe. Following that I held a number of different roles within various European teams: I went from being advertising manager to head of communications, to being in the Western Europe region, to running the category for all of Europe, and then taking the lead for the UK business about four years ago – and, just recently, incorporating Ireland.
What are your aims at Microsoft?
I get a real reward from working for a business that aims to give people enjoyment. To me, that is a noble goal which makes me motivated to go to work every day, because what I’m working so hard to do is give people pleasure through entertainment. That’s what I love doing.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
My role is pressurised. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with it and that can be a lot to deal with. Sometimes there are things that you can’t get done as quickly as you would like or in the way you would like, but that’s the same in any role in any company.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part is when you see the smiles on people’s faces when they play our games. We do a lot of consumer shows throughout the year, such as E3, Gamescom and EGX, and the passion of Xbox fans and the pleasure you see when they play our games is always the best reward. People are happy to stand in line for four, five, six hours to play for 15 minutes on a new game that no one else has played. They come out afterwards with a smile on their face, and join a queue to play another Xbox game. That level of dedication is amazing.
What is a leader?
It’s about providing clarity of direction and energy, specifically for the team of people you work with. It’s about how you show up every day; being in the moment is very important, whatever that moment requires. If someone needs a helping hand, you need to be there for them; if someone needs a steer in the right direction, you need to be able to do that. If you need to respond to an opportunity in the business, then you need to be versatile enough to do all those things and be in the moment every time.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the early days of Xbox when we formed what is now a multi-billion-dollar business. It was the coming together of a relatively small group of like-minded people who were completely committed to create something that would be lasting and meaningful for gamers. At the time, we didn’t know how it was going to go, but here we are 18 years later talking about the release of the Xbox One X.
What inspires you?
I get inspired by seeing brilliance in others. I’m a pretty good judge of that, and when I see it I gravitate towards it. I’m inspired by creativity and brilliant design, and by people who do brilliant things – that can be making incredible games and bringing a vision to life, or on a football pitch, or being a musician. It’s inspiring when people are able to be brilliant at what they do in a remarkable way.
What’s your favourite Microsoft product?
Xbox One X, it’s the latest and greatest.
What was the first piece of technology you got excited about?
Space Invaders in arcades. I used to like the ones that were in coffee tables, so you could sit and play them. Those were some of my earliest memories of gaming and seeing what technology could do. I then got an Atari home video console, and played games like Tank, Missile Command and Pong. Playing all those early games was a moment I think back to; I remember it was really good.