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Microsoft's Loss: Ex-Steam Boss Joins Oculus

I'm in the business of Jason Holtman, and business is booming

Normally when videogame execs are the subject of countless headlines, it’s because they said something fighty or controversial. Or maybe they got an inner-thigh tattoo. Not former Steam brainguy Jason Holtman, though. Truth be told, he hasn’t really said much of anything for quite a while. The man just won’t stay still, is the thing. First he helped pioneer Steam at Valve, then he moved on to Microsoft to focus on “making Windows a great platform for gaming.” But suddenly he left mere months later, never to be seen again. OR SO WE THOUGHT. Now he’s surfaced at Oculus as “head of platform.” When reached for comment, Oculus would not explain who will be the body, nor whether the arms and legs will be made of robot lions.

Here’s what Holtman will be doing at Oculus: “Jason will be spearheading the business development and partnership side of the Oculus platform working closely with Marshall, head of platform engineering, and David, head of worldwide publishing, with a focus on building the world’s best developer and player VR ecosystem. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the team.”

Meanwhile, the Facebook purchase understandably “supercharged” Oculus’ all-matter-devouring black hole of a recruitment effort, so now it’s added more new employees than you can shake a Facebook Facebrick (TM) at:

  • Neil Konzen, former engineer at Valve and one of the original Microsoft employees
  • Brian Hook, former engineer at RAD (Telemetry) and the original author of 3Dfx Glide
  • Adrian Wong, former lead systems engineer at Google[x] (Glass)
  • Ian Field, former engineer at ARM and co-inventor of Cortex-M
  • Raul Corella, former head of supply chain at JawBone, Monster, and Leap Motion
  • Laura Fryer, former GM of Epic Seattle and WB Seattle
  • Paul Pedriana, former lead engineer at EA
  • David Moore, former engineer at RAD (Granny)
  • Kenneth Scott, former art director at 343 Studios (Halo 4)
  • Seneca Menard, former technical artist at id Software
  • Paul Pepera, former environment artist at Valve and 343 Studios
  • Brian Sharp, former engineer at Bungie
  • Aaron Nicholls, former engineer at Valve, 343 Studios, and Microsoft
  • Matt Alderman, former engineer at Valve and ArenaNet
  • Cass Everitt, former GPU architect and engineer at Nvidia
  • Ross O’Dwyer, former at head of development support at Havok
  • Douglas Lanman, former research scientist at Nvidia Research and MIT Media Lab
  • …and many, many more: Scott Boyce, Gayan Ediriweera, Michael Berger, Khoi Nguyen, Aaron Toney, Bruce Cleary, Anusha Balan, Sagy Wiessbrod, Christopher Taylor, Soh Tanaka, Matt Mojica, Hyo Jin Kim, Steve Arnold, Dan Moskowitz

Which is a pretty darn impressive lineup. Click through here to see a bunch of pictures of them all playing volleyball for some reason.

Oculus also announced Lucky’s Tale, a VR-exclusive adventure from Paul Bettner, one of the creators of Words With Friends. I hope it’s a game in which we play as intrepid anthro-fox wunderkind Yalmer Lucky attempting to give animated yet remarkably articulate speeches about the real-life magic of virtual foxality. Somehow I doubt it, though.

But yes, Oculus appears to be soldiering on quite admirably, despite messy lawsuits and all that depressing slow-jam jazz. Where it’ll end up after all this effort is anyone’s guess, but if VR flops, it certainly won’t be because Oculus failed to staff up properly.

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Nathan Grayson

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