Netflix Games nabs Xbox and Scopely live service execs in latest big-name hiring round


Netflix’s games team just keeps on expanding.

Since our last report on Netflix’s swoop for 14 well-known games execs in the last year, the streaming giant has continued to add a multitude of senior folks from Xbox, Scopely, EA, Riot, Zynga and more.

And two of its biggest recent hires indicate that Netflix is moving into live service games. 

James Burns announced that he joined Netflix last week. He’s the new director of live gaming services, and has moved over from Microsoft where he was director of in-game monetisation at Xbox. Burns spent over 15 years at Microsoft in a variety of roles including business planning for movies, TV and later Xbox.

New at Netflix: director of live gaming services James Burns (ex-Xbox), head of live service games Jason Mueller (ex-Scopely) and creative director Paul Cross (Ex-EA, Ubisoft).

Burns is joined by Jason Mueller, Netflix’s new head of live service games. He joined last month having served as VP of strategy at Scopely for the last two years. Mueller had previously worked in a similar strategy role at FoxNext within Disney, and in senior roles at Capcom and Kabam.

Netflix Games has a new creative director, too. Back in May, Paul Cross moved over to the streaming giant from EA where he was senior creative director on The Sims 4. Previous to that, Cross was at Ubisoft for over 12 years as director on titles like South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Rocksmith.

Sarah Nalle Springwater (Ex-Pocket Gems), Jordan Spratt (Ex-Riot), Kevin Hustler (Ex-Relic), Alexandra Rooks (Ex-Robin Games, Jam City).

Last month, Sarah Nalle Springwater was appointed director of story at Netflix Games, bringing an eight-year stint at Pocket Gems to an end. Riot business intelligence analyst Jordan Spratt also took up a new role as analytics engineer in June, joining several other ex-Rioters at Netflix. Relic Entertainment’s lead UX designer on Age of Empires IV, Kevin Hustler, made the switch last month too. He now leads UX design.

Earlier this month, Alexandra Rooks was appointed level designer at Netflix-owned Night School Studio, moving from a game design role at Robin Games. Rooks has also previously worked at Jam City, Pixelberry and Big Huge Games.

Former Zynga producer May Garcia, new Netflix art director Richard Smith (Ex-Tangent, Spark, Respawn, Infinity Ward) and lead artist Grace Liu (Ex-Monomi Park, Riot).

And back in April, Netflix Games appointed May Garcia as its new operations program manager. Garcia previously served as Zynga’s former lead producer on Harry Potter Puzzles and Spells.

In March, just after our first report on Netflix Games’ exec hiring spree, there were a couple more hires on the art team. Richard Smith is now Netflix Games’ art director, a former co-founder of Tangent Games, the studio that made Here They Lie plus unannounced games for Sony Santa Monica and Stadia. Smith also held senior art roles at Spark Unlimited on Ninja Gaiden Z, on Titanfall at Respawn and Call of Duty at Infinity Ward.

Smith is joined by new lead artist Grace Liu, who joined Netflix from Slime Rancher maker Monomi Park. She’s another former Riot employee, too.

Boss Fighters now at Netflix: David Rippy, David Luehmann, Jaime Grieves, Chelsea Sutton.

The completion of the Boss Fight Entertainment acquisition has also led to new roles at Netflix for the Texas, USA-based team. Boss Fight CEO David Rippy is now Netflix studio director, and its games president David Luehmann, a former director of Amazon Game Studios, is now director of game development.

Former Boss Fight general manager Jaime Grieves now holds the same role at his new employer, and Chelsea Sutton is now Netflix Games senior product marketing manager. Eddie In is now a senior market and economy analyst, having worked as senior manager for market intelligence at Boss Fight. Brandon Mason and Brian Kang also moved as part of the Boss Fight deal, and continue their roles in engineering and product management respectively.

There’s more hiring to come as well. At the time of writing, Netflix is actively looking to fill roles across bizdev, strategic partnerships, comms, live services, research, art, game design, QA, engineering and production.

We understand it is paying absolute top dollar to successful candidates, too. So don’t expect the flow of talent over to Netflix to stop anytime soon. 

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