Bloomberg spotlights CSU alum, head of Halo gaming studio

A CSU alumna who leads the studio that released the new Halo 5: Guardians video game on Oct. 27 was featured last week on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek.

magazine cover imageBonnie Ross graduated from CSU with a degree in technical communication and a concentration in physics and computer science. She is now a corporate vice president at Microsoft and heads 343 Industries, the studio that creates the popular Halo game series on Xbox.

In September 2014, Fortune magazine named her one of the 10 most powerful women in video games. Among other things, she’s been heralded for her efforts to fight gender discrimination in gaming.

“As a rare female executive in an industry dominated by men, Ross worked to remind her colleagues that girls play video games, too,” Bloomberg reported in the Oct. 22 story. “She’s insisted that fully realized female characters play prominent roles in Halo 5 and made sure that dorky Halo T-shirts come in cuts for women, too.”

‘Completely unacceptable’

Ross has also condemned discriminatory remarks that male players have made against women online.

“I’ve seen many of the sites that have documented some of the more gender-specific slanderous comments,” Ross told GameSpot in 2012. “This is behaviour that is offensive and completely unacceptable. I’d like to think most of our Xbox Live players don’t support this kind of behaviour.”

Ross, who started working at Microsoft in 1989, told Bloomberg that after graduating from CSU, she had an internship at IBM and applied to work at NeXT, Apple and Microsoft, but the first two never called her back.

According to the article, “Can the woman behind Halo 5 save the Xbox?,” when Microsoft created 343 Industries to run Halo in 2007, some doubted Ross’ decision to lead the studio because “there was a feeling at Microsoft that Halo had run its course.”

“People felt like, ‘Let’s get another Halo or two out, and it’s the end of the franchise,’” she told Bloomberg. “The thing I asked for was: If I take it over, I want to be George Lucas. I want to own everything, and I want to do things differently.”