Newell was right - in the gaming world, he and Harrington were unknown commodities. Both were decade-long veterans of Microsoft, helping to manage staple products such as Windows NT, OS/2, and Microsoft Bob. It may not have been glamorous, but it was lucrative - very lucrative. Both Newell and Harrington are part of an elite group dubbed the "Microsoft Millionaires," young software developers who all made enormous amounts of money with their Microsoft stock options. Some have gone on to start their own restaurants. Others have bought farms in Iowa. But Harrington and Newell wanted to make games.
"I like developing software, good working environments, and games," explains Harrington, who has a boyish charm and approachable disposition. "I put all [these elements] together and decided that I couldn't just leave Microsoft and do nothing."
Or so they thought. Mike's wife Monica, a marketing executive at Microsoft at the time, didn't take her husband's plan for a game shop very seriously at first. "I remember when Mike first told me he wanted to start a games company," she recalls. "I envisioned him working out of the extra space above our garage." However, she soon realized how serious both Harrington and Newell were about their new venture. "I woke up when he told me he and Gabe would be signing a five-year lease for office space in downtown Kirkland."
The only problem was that Newell and Harrington didn't know a thing about developing a 3D action game. That's where Michael Abrash, a close friend of Harrington's, comes into the picture.
"My friend Michael Abrash had recently left Microsoft to go to id Software," says Harrington. "He told me that we had to license this new engine that he was working on with John Carmack." So, when the invitation came through to visit Abrash in Texas, Harrington and Newell were quickly on the road and on their way to id.
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