Sometime around 2015, Google began pursuit of a new endeavor, their entrance into the gaming medium. Google’s approach was to stream games from their servers to their players and, though hardly a new concept, Google’s expertise in network engineering, their wealth of server warehouses, and their fiber optic infrastructure primed their success beyond what had been accomplished thus far. Google called their new pursuit Project Stream. They launched a test of Project Stream in late 2018, allowing select few individuals to test their system by playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey remotely. The test was a success, and at the Game Developers Conference in March of 2019, Google officially announced Stadia, their cloud gaming service.
Stadia will be released in limited fashion this November, and completely next year, but Google has spent years now hiring the best the industry has to offer in an attempt to ensure Stadia’s success. Here are just a few of the names responsible for the upcoming service.
Phil Harrison has been a video game industry professional for over thirty years. Harrison spent over 15 years at Sony, beginning as Vice President over third-party relations during the original PlayStation era. He went on to become the Executive Vice President of Development at SCE of Europe before finally becoming President of Sony Worldwide Studios after their restructuring in 2005.
Following Harrison’s time at Sony, he briefly served on the Advisory Board at Gaikai, an American cloud gaming company which was purchased by Sony in 2012 and became the foundation for PlayStation Now and PlayStation Remote Play.
Harrison then joined Microsoft as Corporate Vice President and executive leader of Xbox for the launch of the Xbox One and the first couple of years following.
Finally, Harrison joined Google in 2018 as Vice President, to head their foray into gaming with Stadia.
Jack Buser worked with Dolby Laboratories for 10 years. He served as Senior Manager for Game Technology Marketing for almost half of that time, negotiating licensing and middleware contracts with console manufacturers. He concluded his tenure at Dolby as Director of Worldwide Technology Evangelism, specifically developing their business of movie streaming.
Buser was then hired by Sony to manage their PlayStation Home social platform for the PlayStation 3. A few years later, he moved onto Directing their digital platforms such as PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Network. Buser completed his career with Sony as Senior Director of PlayStation Now, Sony’s cloud gaming service for the PlayStation 4.
Jack Buser was brought on by Google in 2016, early into their exploration into cloud gaming. He now serves as Director for Games and Business Development.
Jade Raymond began her career in games in 1998 as Lead Software Engineer for Sony Online Entertainment, programming Jeopardy Online, before being promoted to Director of Research and Development.
Her experience with online games led her to serve at Electronic Arts as producer of The Sims Online, and then at a startup as Senior Producer for online game There.
Raymond became more widely known when she was brought into Ubisoft as Executive Producer of the Assassin’s Creed franchise. She was then tapped to found Ubisoft’s new studio in Toronto, where she was VP & General Manager, as well as Executive Producer of the team responsible for Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
Raymond departed Ubisoft to found and grow Motive Studios under EA, as well as manage EA’s Star Wars portfolio.
Raymond joined Google as Vice President and Head of Stadia Games and Entertainment in March 2019.
Majad Bakar has engineered software for streaming for over twenty years. In the late 90’s, Bakar served as Senior Software Engineer Lead for WebTV Networks, which worked to develop an Internet set-top box for TVs. WebTV Networks was acquired by Microsoft, and Bakar transitioned to the new company as Senior Software Development Engineer, where he designed the backend for Windows Media Center TV. He went on to design the server infrastructure for Mediaroom, a streaming television suite, as well as manage the development team. He finally served as Director of Product Architecture/Lead Architect for Mediaroom before moving to Google.
At google, Bakar worked as VP of Engineering for the Chromecast and Home product lines, in addition to Google WiFi.
In 2018, Bakar joined the Stadia team as VP of Engineering.
Eric Kabisch has been a user experience designer for over 20 years. Early in his career, Kabisch designed websites for several different companies. In 2004, he designed an interactive museum for the Game Culture Technology Lab. Kabisch then designed an AR platform for LUCI, a research group at the University of California, Irvine.
Kabisch then worked for eight years at Fluxt Design, where he researched and developed interfaces, games, and applications. For almost seven years, Kabisch worked as Lead UX Designer then Director of UX at Scopely, a game development company responsible for games from such franchises as Star Trek, Looney Toons, and The Walking Dead.
Kabisch joined Google in April 2018 as Head of UX Design for Stadia.