In a heartfelt series of tweets, Larry Hryb, widely known as Major Nelson, has announced his retirement from Microsoft after a 20-year tenure with the tech giant. The Director of Programming for the Microsoft gaming network Xbox Live, Hryb has been a significant figure in the gaming community, serving as the public face of Xbox and hosting the official Xbox Podcast.

An unmistakable voice in the gaming world, Major Nelson has garnered a dedicated following over the years for his candid dialogue with customers and fans. His pioneering podcast – a mix of interviews, discussions, and reviews – has provided an invaluable insider’s perspective into the operations at Microsoft’s Xbox division.

Hryb tweeted, “After 20 incredible years, I have decided to take a step back and work on the next chapter of my career… I want to thank the millions of gamers around the world who have included me as part of their lives.”

The news of his departure has stirred up a wave of nostalgia and tribute from Xbox team members and fans alike, reflecting the influence he had on the industry and his peers. Famed figures in the gaming community such as Rod Fergusson and SnowBikeMike have expressed their admiration for Hryb, acknowledging his immense contributions to the gaming world.

A Syracuse University graduate, Hryb started his career as a programmer and on-air host with radio broadcaster Clear Channel Communications. He joined Microsoft in 2001, initially serving as the editor in chief of MSN music before transitioning to the Xbox division in 2003. Over the course of his career at Microsoft, Hryb played a pivotal role in the development of the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, Kinect, and the ‘New Xbox Experience’.

Beyond his work at Microsoft, Hryb’s influence extends to the wider tech and gaming industry. His insight and expertise have advised numerous gaming and non-gaming companies on the effective use of digital tools and social networks. He has been recognized for his contributions to the industry, being named one of Mashable’s ’13 Bona Fide Geeks to Follow’ in 2012.

Even as he steps away from his current role, Hryb’s passion for gaming remains undimmed. His tweets hint at a continuing involvement with Xbox, albeit from a different perspective, and a sincere excitement for the brand’s future. “The future is bright for Xbox and as a gamer, I am excited to see the evolution,” he tweeted.

Additionally, Major Nelson assured fans that his departure would not mark the end of the official Xbox Podcast. The show, which features discussions on various gaming topics from Xbox One to next-gen consoles and more, will be on a summer hiatus before returning in a new format.

Despite his significant contributions and achievements in the gaming industry, it’s Hryb’s personal rapport with the Xbox community that leaves an indelible mark. His eagerness to interact, share knowledge, and maintain a transparent dialogue with gamers around the world has set him apart in an industry often known for its secrecy.

As the gaming community bids a fond farewell to Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb, his legacy at Microsoft and within the gaming industry at large is beyond dispute. Though the next chapter of his career remains to be written, there’s little doubt that he’ll continue to be an influential figure in the world of gaming, in whatever role that may be.