The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
Every year there are certain events occurring in the video
game industry that sort of characterize and often sum up the year. Clearly last
year was the release of the next generation consoles. While it may be a little premature
as we're only a quarter of the way through this year, I can't help but wonder
if 2014 is going to be remembered as the year of the revolving video game
developers and other video game personalities.
Or maybe the year of musical chairs?
It seems like we can't make it a week without some big name
in the video game industry announcing their employment with a new organization -
and it always seems to catch us off guard (or at least it catches me off
guard). Today's announcement mentioned the newest additions to Amazon - Kim
Swift and Clint Hocking. With Amazon announcing the Fire TV, their entry into
the current field of video game consoles, no doubt this is more than just a
coincidence. It should be interesting to see how this turns out. In case you
don't know, Kim Swift is the co-creator of Portal and Clint Hocking has worked
for the likes of Valve and Lucasarts. These are some big fish, wouldn't you
Last week, hmm...who did we see in the news. Oh yes...Justin
Richmond, another member of Naughty Dog moving on. This, after Amy Hennig left
the company under unusual circumstances. I've read so many of the articles
talking about this and I still can't resolve the explanations in my mind...yeah,
I think there was more to it.
Microsoft and Sony have both witnessed some rather senior
people leave their organizations this year. Granted, most of these individuals
are taking jobs at other video game companies, but it does seem a little odd to
me the frequency and timing of some of the shifts.
Jason Holtman was the
head of Valve's PC game distribution platform, Steam, but he left last February
and later accepted a position with Microsoft. A little over six months after
accepting the job with Microsoft, Holtman has left the company. (Game
So, you work at Valve (sounds dreamy doesn't it) and leave
to go work for Microsoft. You're there for six months and then you leave that
company too? That is...interesting to say the least.
Don't get me wrong. I've been on the video game roller
coaster ride for over 20 years now and I know there is always some level of
flux with people coming and going. But wow, three months into 2014 and we've
certainly see some big movements...and we've seen them frequently.
Moving in kind of the opposite direction, you have Ken
Levine and the Irrational Games saga. He might be staying put, but clearly
anytime a studio with the reputation of Irrational Games is basically gutted,
that is just as surprising and noteworthy.
Not all personnel movements are left or right, but some are
up and down (hopefully up, right?). A few days ago there were several announcements
about Phil Spencer moving up to lead the Xbox team at Microsoft. Not as huge of
a move, but a shift nonetheless.
The list is longer but unfortunately some of the names are
more obscure. We have a lot of time left though and I wouldn't be surprised if
we see more news of people switching chairs. And I wouldn't be surprised if
some of these names were big names...the sort of names that surprise us when we
hear the news.
The good news is the video game industry is resilient and
change can sometimes lead to growth and prosperity. I'm not all that interested
in Amazon's gaming console...but if there is one thing that could get me excited
about it, it's having Kim Swift work on an exclusive title for it. So in the
end, all of this musical chairs that's going on...might be a good thing.
I guess we'll find out, even if it does take to the end of
the year before we know for sure.
Until then, good games.