An award-winning games industry veteran who has worked with the likes of Atari and Electronic Arts (EA) has joined Leeds-based VR and mobile games developer XR Games.
The company, which recently secured a $2.6m investment, has appointed Jane Whittaker to its board and executive team as chief hopping officer.
The title was initially coined by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to spotlight Whittaker’s wide-ranging expertise and ability to simultaneously hop between roles in a corporate environment, operating creatively, technically and leading business development.
In a 34-year career spanning both gaming and general entertainment, Whittaker has held senior management and board roles at Atari, MGM and EA. He has also provided advice to the board of companies like Softbank and Microsoft.
Whittaker’s portfolio includes hits like GoldenEye 007 (N64), Alien VS Predator, The Sims, HR Giger’s Darkseed and major contributions to Microsoft Flight Simulator.
He also has a long history in virtual reality (VR), including managing the VR team at Atari, developing titles such as the VR version of Alien VS Predator for the Atari Jaguar and is regarded as a lead visionary in 3D technology.
“I firmly believe as the technology matures, virtual reality is going to be a tidal wave that sweeps through the entertainment industry,” Whittaker said.
“XR Games is positioning itself to ride the crest of that wave with incredibly innovative products and approaches set to revolutionise VR. It’s an exciting time to be a member of the XR team.”
CEO Bobby Thandi added: “Kane brings a wealth of experience that’s unparalleled in the games sector, and invaluable as we launch into the emerging VR market.
“Jane delivers concept, code, and corporate vision to our board, and I’m super excited that Jane has chosen to join XR Games.”
Whittaker is also the subject of a BBC series about his life story, for major worldwide TV release in 2018. He was born as a conjoined twin with a very rare mix of male and female body parts and medical.
In the early 1980s, he and his sister endured more than 40 operations in order to successfully separate them – making them one of only four male-female twins in the world to survive this process.