Xbox's 'father of invention' to be awarded honorary degree by GCU

05 July 2017

Boyd Multerer – the man responsible for Xbox Live, the gaming and entertainment service now used by more than 46 million people worldwide – is to be awarded an honorary degree by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

He will receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering at a ceremony to be held at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Thursday, July 6.

The former Microsoft man is currently working on an “exciting” new venture, having founded Kry10 Industries. According to Boyd, Kry10 is interested in secure, connected devices and the operating systems and services that drive them. He hopes to reveal more later in the summer.

Boyd is held in high regard throughout the gaming community. He was behind XNA programming – which allowed independent designers to develop games for the Xbox 360 console.

Boyd founded and led the team that worked on the Xbox One operating system, which went on to win a Technical Emmy and a Microsoft Technical Achievement Award.

Boyd began coding at the age of 12 and went on to study mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, where he saw the potential of incorporating computers into engineering. During his studies he built a dynamics simulator, which won first place at the Engineering Expo and was licensed to multiple universities.

He founded Zephyr Design in 1990, a desktop publishing start-up, which worked closely with Aldus PageMaker.           

He joined Microsoft in 1997 to work on web servers and then founded the development team that would go on to create Xbox Live in 2000, the gaming and entertainment system launched in 2002.

In 2012 he was named as one of Game Developer Magazine's Power 50, a list of people in the game industry who have stood out for outstanding contributions to the industry.

After almost 20 years at Microsoft, Boyd left in December 2014.

He has since visited GCU to talk to students and staff about lessons learned from Xbox and his predictions for the future of gaming.

Boyd said: “Video-game consoles have grown from toys to the centrepiece of our living rooms. That doesn’t mean it will always be the case. My work has focused on building what will be interesting in the future over what is interesting now.

“We must design products for the world that will exist when they ship, rather than for the world that was there when we started. This means predicting technical and cultural change. It means adjusting as new data comes in.”