Canessa, who has worked at Microsoft for over six years and was instrumental in building Xbox Live Arcade in both its Xbox and 360 incarnations as well as relationships with development partners, is moving to PopCap where he will lead the firm's game platforms division.
The Seattle-based company has produced games for PCs, mobile phones iPods and provided a number of games for Xbox Live Arcade itself, including launch games for 360.
Canessa will help the company widen its focus on downloadable titles for the new Sony and Nintendo consoles, handhelds and other platforms.
Speaking in an interview with Next-Gen.biz, Canessa describes PopCap as "what could be the next Blizzard or EA in the game industry [...] and I want to be a part of that".
He added: "While I love Microsoft and Xbox 360, I'm an entrepreneur at heart and I love creating and defining new businesses. I'm also a huge gamer, and getting back into the game development space is important to me. And finally, I miss the nimbleness and agility that a small company can offer."