Gaming industry vet Jane Whittaker has joined the board and executive team at Dubit-incubated virtual reality gaming company XR Games. Whittaker will take on the role of chief hopping officer, a term coined by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, meaning he will hop between creative and technical roles while also leading business development.
Whittaker has spent more than three decades in the gaming and entertainment industry, primarily leading teams in product and corporate development. He spent 11 years at Atari, five years at MGM (where he served as EVP) and 14 years at EA holding various senior management and board roles. He has also consulting for the boards at Softbank and Microsoft.
Among the hits in Whittaker’s portfolio include GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64, as well as Alien vs. Predator, The Sims, HR Giger’s Darkseed and major contributions to Microsoft Flight Simulator. In terms of VR, Whittaker previously managed the VR team at Atari and developed titles such as the virtual version of Alien vs. Predator for the Atari Jaguar.
Whittaker is also the subject of a BBC series about his life story that will be released worldwide in 2018. It will feature Bing Gordon (former chief creative officer at EA), Sam Tramiel (former head of Atari) and Wild Bill Stealey (founder of MicroProse, iEntertainment Network and Interactive Magic) as they tell the story of how Whittaker was born as a conjoined twin.
Currently, a member of the advisory team at Australian venture capital firm Global Merces Media Ventures (GMMV), Whittaker was introduced to XR Games when GMMV invested US$2.6 million in the startup at the beginning of this year. That funding is being used in order to build out the senior management team and acquire more IP.
XR Games, which creates mobile and arcade titles for licensed IPs, launched at the beginning of last year to develop a suite of kid-centric VR apps. The efforts fall in line with parentco Dubit’s current research into VR’s impact on the health and safety of children, as well as the need to establish guidelines for the virtual space.