TechCrunch has discovered that Google hired on games veteran Noah Falstein as the company's Chief Game Designer in April 2013. Although currently not listed, an earlier cached version of the profile said he was Chief Game Designer at Android Play Studio. Will that be the name of Google's upcoming dedicated gaming network?
According to Falstein's LinkedIn bio (opens in new tab), he has been in the computer game industry since 1980, serving at major developers like LucasArts, The 3DO Company and Dreamworks Interactive. For over 16 years he was the owner of The Inspiracy, a freelance design business offering design and production consulting for companies and individuals interested in top quality game development and business contacts.
"[At Dreamworks Interactive] I was the 3rd employee and worked directly with Steven Spielberg on several unreleased titles," his bio reads. "I launched the 'Normandy Beach' project which eventually (under other hands) became the Medal of Honor series and started a Story and Design group within Dreamworks."
At Dreamworks, he served as Executive Producer from May 1995 to August 1996. Prior to that, he produced initial demos and launched the first four internal titles for the 3DO console from March 1992 to November 1993. At LucasArts Entertainment, he was Project Leader and Assistant Creative Director, and worked on a number of games between February 1984 and February 1992.
"Noah is one of those guys that's dedicated his life to not just designing games, but improving the art," said Gaikai CEO David Perry.
Is it possible then that Google is getting ready to launch Android Play as a gaming network, and a studio dedicated to developing content for that network? That's speculation of course, but it wouldn't be the first time Google has dipped its toes into original content. The company released an augmented game for Android called Ingress last year through its Niantic Labs studio. The company even tested the Second Life waters with its own Lively platform in 2009.
Last month a Google Glass app confirmed the upcoming gaming platform, listing services like real-time multiplayer, turn-based multiplayer, in-game chat, achievements, leaderboards, invitations and lobbies. Punit Soni, group product manager for Google+, even hinted to the platform in 2012, saying during GDC that by next year, he wouldn't be standing on stage talking about Google+ Games, Chrome Web Store games, Games for Native Client and Android games.
"We will be talking about Google games," he said.
On Thursday Engadget said Google confirmed that Falstein joined the company, but did not elaborate further. We expect to find out more in a matter of weeks during the opening three-hour Google I/O keynote.