Xbox hires Portal dev Kim Swift to make cloud games (like Kojima’s)

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Microsoft is getting serious again about cloud-native games. To that end, the company’s Xbox division announced today it has hired former Stadia game design director Kim Swift to oversee cloud gaming collaborations with independent studios. Those studios will include Hideo Kojima’s Kojima Productions if and when Microsoft closes that previously reported deal, according to our sources.

“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 boss Peter Wyse said in an interview to Polygon.

Before Stadia, Swift was development lead on beloved Valve Software games Portal and Left 4 Dead. She will now use that expertise game/cloud expertise to help Xbox partners. Microsoft is making this move in part to specifically aid Kojima. That legendary developer was previously going to make a game with Stadia, but Google has backed away from games. The Metal Gear creator is now in the midst of negotiations with Xbox to produce that game. Kojima Productions is still in the early design phases for this project.

This is part of a bigger strategy to expand the reach of Xbox beyond physical hardware under a TV or monitor. Xbox boss Phil Spencer wants to reach an audience that normally wouldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on a console or PC.

“[Spencer] always talks about that journey of getting the 3 billion players,” Wyse told Polygon. “[And] I do get super excited about the idea of high-fidelity gaming on a phone […] that’s the carrot I keep chasing, for sure.”


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