Microsoft has hired Kim Swift, perhaps best known as a co-creator of Portal, to oversee Xbox Game Studios Publishing’s collaborations with independent studios on games built for the cloud. Swift is joining as senior director of cloud gaming after a stint at Stadia, where she was game design director.
Swift was a producer of Narbacular Drop, which was released in 2005. Valve hired the team behind that game to make a spiritual successor: Portal. Swift was the project lead on the classic puzzle-platformer. She worked on the Left for Dead series before moving on to Airtight Games (Quantum Conundrum) and later Amazon and EA Motive.
Google shut down its internal Stadia game studios in February. Many of the team members have moved on to other companies.
“Kim is going to build a team focused on new experiences in the cloud, something that’s going to support our mission of bringing our Xbox games to connect 3 billion gamers to play our games,” Xbox Game Studios Publishing head Peter Wyse told Polygon.
Microsoft wants to reach the vast number of gamers who don’t have, want or need consoles or gaming PCs. It’s building streaming sticks and smart TV apps so people can access Xbox cloud gaming through Game Pass without pricey dedicated hardware. So, it’s little surprise that Xbox is working on “cloud-native games,” as Wyse put it. However, he added that “we don’t know exactly what that looks like today, or what that even plays like,” so those games are likely quite some time away.
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