Noah Falstein has almost forty years of experience in the games industry, having been one of the first ten employees at the company that would become LucasArts, and having worked with DreamWorks Interactive and 3DO. In 2013, he was hired by Google as their chief game designer, a role from which he has now resigned.
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Falstein made the news public yesterday in a post on his personal website. In full, his statement reads:
“Four years ago this month I became Google’s chief game designer. It seemed an auspicious time to be able to make games at a company known for its world-spanning technology. Unfortunately, the opportunity to actually build the big, consequential games that I had been hired to help create failed to materialize, even as the world market for games has continued to grow in size, diversity, and geographic reach. Accordingly, I’ve decided to leave Google, and today, April 6, was my last day.”
He praises Google and his talented colleagues there, but says he’s not ready to stop making games. He goes on to discuss the maturing technologies related to gaming that he wants to explore, particularly in neuroscience and VR.
“Before I came to Google I had the pleasure of working on a number of health and neuroscience game titles, and that field is now maturing, and I think about to come into its own both in terms of its benefits to humanity, and feasibility as a business,” he says.
A year before Google hired Falstein, they released Ingress, an augmented reality game developed by Niantic Labs, which was set up by Google employees. Google seemed ready to step into gaming, as Falstein implies, but it hasn’t happened; Niantic went independent in 2015, a month after they announced they were working on Pokémon Go. And we know how that turned out. Falstein’s resignation suggests we won’t be seeing Google investing further in gaming.