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EA, Zynga and Kabam vet Verdu heading up Facebook AR and VR efforts after Barra steps down

EA, Zynga and Kabam vet Verdu heading up Facebook AR and VR efforts after Barra steps down

The former head of mobile at Electronic Arts Mike Verdu (pictured) is now in charge of Facebook's augmented and virtual reality businesses.

Announced via that social media platform - as reported by GamesBeat - Verdu says that he'll be collaborating with developers to bring content to Facebook's Rift and Go VR hardware, in addition to "other devices".

This follows Hugo Barra stepping down as VP of VR, moving to a more partner-focused role at the social media giant. 

"Because this is such a compelling opportunity, I opted to shelve the blockchain gaming start-up that many of you knew I was on the cusp of launching," Verdu said.

"Instead, I’ll be working on another frontier of technology. It’s incredibly exciting to be able to inflect the growth of these new computing platforms and the ecosystems around them.”

Facebook says that former content boss for AR and VR Jason Rubin is being moved to a new role, VP of special gaming initiatives. Verdu will be reporting to him.

"Jason Rubin’s role is expanding, and Verdu will run content and report to Rubin," the social media giant said in a statement.

"A big part of Rubin’s role will be exploring the future gaming strategies we should invest in across AR/VR and Facebook. Jason built a strong content organisation and led that team to success for over five years. This requires someone with a clear vision and a dedicated focus who is able to look two to five years out at what our company needs to do to build and create a successful gaming and developer ecosystem.

"We want to build a long-term, successful VR gaming and developer ecosystem. This requires a leader with deep experience in making games, and someone who knows the industry well enough to see what’s going to happen 2-5 years from now. Jason Rubin is the perfect person to lead the strike teams that will drive VR games forward."

At GDC, pressed Rubin and VP of product Nate Mitchell on the impact of Facebook's negative PR from 2018 on the company's VR and AR business - the duo downplayed any fallout from those stories.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.