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Former Xbox Live head now working on Skate franchise for Electronic Arts

Dan McCulloch, the former head of Xbox Live, tweeted on Wednesday that he has joined Electronic Arts as studio general manager to work on the Skate franchise.

Today, I'm incredibly excited to share that I'm going to be joining the SKATE family @EA as Studio GM. I've been a huge fan of @skateEA for over a decade, and now I'm honored to be part of that amazing community. Be on the lookout for more information coming in the future!

— Dan McCulloch ???? (@McDanRandom) July 15, 2020

McCulloch left his position as general manager of Xbox Live at the end of June, tweeting a heartfelt goodbye to his co-workers at the end of his 15-year tenure at Xbox. McCulloch did not say where he would be going next initially, though some suspected he would stay in the gaming industry.

McCulloch’s departure from Xbox was jarring for some. He began working for Microsoft in 2005 as a program manager, coordinating with companies like Yahoo, and later led major initiatives at Xbox, such as Kinect and HoloLens. He led the company’s VR and AR team from 2016 to 2017, before stepping into the role of general manager of Xbox Live. Xbox Live users have since seen the expansions of Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold benefits, and live service games.

Beyond McCulloch’s announcement on Twitter, there aren’t details on his specific involvement with the Skate franchise. Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s executive vice president of gamin, said he was happy that McCulloch is “realizing a dream of leading a team building a game.”

McCulloch’s transition comes shortly after the announcement of Skate 4 at EA Play Live 2020, where Skate 4 Creative Director Cuz Parry and Game Director Deran Chung announced the game’s development. The two didn’t present any details beyond its announcement.

Skate 4 could become more of an online experience with McCulloch at the helm now. With his experience leading Xbox Live and enhanced focus on live service games, Skate 4 might be in for a change of pace compared to its predecessors.

McCulloch is joining the Skate team in the middle of an apparent rejuvenation of the skateboarding genre in video games. Skater XL will be kicking it off later this month when it releases on Xbox One and PS4, and then on Nintendo in 2021. The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake collection is set to release in early September on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.

With McCulloch now leading the Skate team amid growing interest in the skateboarding genre, it seems possible there will be more Skate entries down the line.

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