After years of rumours and hiring, Google finally announced its Stadia streaming platform at GDC last month.
The keynote event focused primarily on the technology side of things, an impressive-sounding combination of Google tech that is great in theory but could well suffer in real-world conditions.
Missing from the announcement were details about what business model Stadia will be using, how developers would be compensated and even how consumers would actually buy games.
Pressed in interviews at GDC about these concerns, Google reps simply said they couldn’t talk about these topics at that time. The company is going to be talking about Stadia again in June – but seemingly not at E3.
So the PCGamesInsider.biz team decided to take a look at just who is working on Stadia. Following the GDC keynote, a number of employees changed their LinkedIn info to show that they were working on the tech. This report goes through department-by-department to see what staff is working on this interesting new tech.
This is by no means a comprehensive list – searching ‘Stadia’ and sorting by LinkedIn members who work at Google and Google Stadia yields 223 results. If there’s anyone big missing, be sure to let Alex know.
The top bods
Phil Harrison, VP Google Stadia
For the keynote event at GDC, Phil Harrison was very much the face of Google Stadia.
The exec led the San Francisco presentation, likely brought on board by the tech and search giant for his long history in the games industry. Harrison has in fact worked in games for over 30 years, launching a graphic design services firm called ESD back in 1986.
He joined Sony Computer Entertainment’s American branch as VP third-party research and development and worked with the PlayStation firm for until 2008, heading up the firm’s Worldwide Studios. He then joined Xbox UK as corporate vice president in 2012, leaving in 2015.
During his time, he has launched several games platforms including the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Xbox One. While there are some true highs in list, there are also several lows that we’re sure Harrison would like to forget.
We’re sure Harrison is hoping there’s much more PlayStation 2 in Stadia than Xbox One.
Jade Raymond – VP and head of Stadia Games and Entertainment
Raymond’s hire as a Google vice president was announced in March 2019, with the keynote event revealing that the industry vet was heading up the Big G’s first-party studio Stadia Games and Entertainment.
Building studios is something Raymond is something of a specialist in, having founded and headed up Ubisoft’s Toronto studio between 2009 and 2014. During this time she grew the developer to a 350-strong outfit. Creating IP is also been a focus of Raymond’s career; during her time at Ubisoft Montreal between 2004 and 2009 she led the creation of franchises such as Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dog.
It was for this valuable skill set that Raymond was hired by EA in July 2015 as SVP and Group GM for not only EA Motive and PopCap Studios, but also the entire Star Wars portfolio.
John Justice, VP and head of product
A relatively recent hire to Google, VP and head of product John Justice has spent the bulk of his career at Microsoft.
The astonishingly-named exec spent almost 15 years at the Big M, ultimately ending up as the GM of the sales, marketing and supply chain engineering team, changing how the company shipped and sold its products.
Justice’s time at Microsoft also included streaming and cloud tech, with the vet working on Azure as well as Xbox game streaming to Android.
As a result he brings an understanding of how to marketing and sell a product, as well as ensuring there’s a smooth retail channel experience – something that Google will need. Though the firm has shipped hardware before, including phones, tablets, laptops and various home devices, selling games and hardware – well, its controller.
Rick Osterloh, SVP devices and services
Rick Osterloh has spent most of his career in the tech industry, starting out at Amazon back in 1999. His CV since includes stints Motorola, Skype and ultimately Google. He initially joined the search giant in 2012 as SVP product management looking after Motorola, leaving to join that company back in November 2014 when it was spun out of Google.
He then rejoined the search giant in April 2016 as SVP of devices and services, meaning he was looking after phones, laptops and home devices.
Now, he’ll be managing Stadia, too.
Mike Foley, CFO Stadia, AR/VR and wearables
Money man Mike Foley been working around the tech business since 2005 when he joined Microsoft as director of corporate development. That role saw Foley looking after M&A activity and investments. From there he moved to a similar role at EA as SVP strategy and corporate development, a role he held for just over six years.
In 2015 he was hired by middleware specialist Unity Technologies as chief financial officer, helping the company earn close to $800m in primary and secondary capital.
Google snapped Foley up in January 2019 where he now serves as head of finance for the firm’s Stadia, AR/VR and wearable tech. While we imagine Foley won’t be required to do much in the way of fundraising at the Big G, it’s likely his corporate development skills – specifically mergers and acquisitions – will come into play as Google moves to improve the Stadia platform and content line-up.
Dov Zimring, Stadia developer platform lead
If Dov Zimring’s LinkedIn bio is correct, he started working on Stadia back in 2013. The product lead initially joined Google in June 2010 as a product manager for the company’s Fiber internet infrastructure, moving to Stadia in 2013. There he has been leading the product team for that platform, from infrastructure to working with other developers and publishers.
Unsurprisingly, he was also the product lead on Project Stream, which ran in October 2018 and was an early test of the underlying Stadia tech.
Zimring might not have much games industry experience, but a Google alum with an intimate knowledge of the company’s network infrastructure at the head of Stadia seems like a good call.
Josh Feira, chief of staff
Prior to joining Google in 2014, Fiera’s CV includes stints at OneSoft, making XML e-commerce sites, designing WAP mobile sites at Openwave Systems and a close-to three-year stint at Lockheed Martin as a technical project manager. From there he moved to IT consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior associate, a role he held for seven years.
He joined Google in 2014, first working on the firm’s Search team, before moving to BizOps and – as of November 2018 – chief of staff for Stadia.
PCGamesInsider.biz has the full who’s who of the Google Stadia team.