Industry veteran Mark DeLoura has been named "Developer Advocate" for games at Google, as the search engine company continues its expansion into game-related areas. He starts the new position today.
This is the one of the first times in recent years that Google has hired someone into a position that focuses specifically on game development and game developers.
It highlights the growing importance of the company's current gaming-related initiatives such as Google Android
, Google's open source 3D API called O3D API
, Chrome and Chrome OS.
In 2008, Google also made news by launching the Lively virtual world, although the company shut it down
later that year. The company also owns the 3D modeling tool
"I personally feel that Google hiring someone specifically to focus on games is a signal from the company that they recognize the growing importance of games as a medium," said DeLoura in a statement to Gamasutra.
"Now how do we make it easier for developers to express themselves and share the experiences they create?" The position of developer advocate for games at Google is "both inward- and outward-facing," he added.
DeLoura is well-known within the video game industry. For the past three years, DeLoura has been performing CTO-level game technology consulting for a variety of companies, and has been writing about game engines and middleware. He's also on the board of the International Game Developers Association and the OneBigGame charity, and served as a judge for the Independent Games Festival and the recently-announced White House-backed Apps for Healthy Kids Competition
Prior to his time as a consultant, he was VP of technology at publisher GreenScreen Interactive, technical director at Ubisoft San Francisco and manager of developer relations at Sony Computer Entertainment America. He was also formerly editor-in-chief for Gamasutra sibling publication Game Developer magazine and worked as lead engineer at Nintendo of America.
"I’m excited to be joining Google since I am very philosophically aligned with them -- my work has always been focused around making game development simpler and more accessible, and Google is incredibly developer friendly, committed to open source, and constantly striving to lower barriers to entry for developers," DeLoura said. "They seek to build platforms by working interactively with their partners, providing a big tent so everyone can get involved."
He continued, "In this time of great disruption in the game industry, there are a huge number of opportunities for developers. It can be difficult for traditional games companies to navigate the new possibilities provided by mobile platforms, social networks, and alternative business models. I’m looking forward to working with both traditional games companies and new game developers to talk about how Google can help, and the platforms and projects Google is working on."