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Dave & Buster’s names Xbox co-creator to head game strategy

Dave & Buster’s restaurant chain has named Xbox co-creator Kevin Bachus as its senior vice president of entertainment and game strategy.

Bachus was one of four people who started the Xbox game console business and helped turn it into a reality. Today, it is a multibillion-dollar business and is Microsoft’s most successful diversification beyond the PC to date. He previously served as the chief product officer of social network Bebo.

In the newly created role, Bachus will be responsible for evolving Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s from on-premise-based entertainment to multi-platform gaming, including mobile and online.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kevin to our team,” said Steve King, chief executive officer of Dave & Buster’s. “He has a remarkable record in the gaming industry and high-impact expertise in social networks, new product development, and game console software. His skills will be critically important as we continue to develop and implement the strategy for our multi-platform future.”

“Video game enthusiasts are always looking for the next big thing, and I believe Dave & Buster’s is uniquely positioned to deliver it to them,” said Bachus. “As a long-time fan of Dave & Buster’s, I am excited to have the opportunity to help shape the next phase of interactive entertainment outside of the home.”

Dave & Buster’s was founded in 1982 and it operates 60 entertainment restaurants in the U.S.

Bachus was one of the four individuals — Seamus Blackley, Ted Hase, and Otto Berkes were the others — who started working on the Xbox game console to head off the threat from the Sony PlayStation 2, which the Japanese company hoped would supplant the Windows PC in the home. (I wrote about this is my book, Opening the Xbox). They convinced Bill Gates and industry naysayers that Microsoft could become a credible force in games. Their initiative was a model for how to start a brand new business within an industry behemoth. Bachus’ job was to convince third-party publishers to make games for the Xbox … without getting laughed out of the room.

But Bachus left before the Xbox shipped and joined Blackley at Capital Entertainment Group, which focused on producing games from independent game makers. Then he became president and later chief executive of Infinium Labs, a digital game distribution company that never got its product out the door and ran afoul of regulators. He also served as head of Nival Interactive, the largest game developer in Eastern Europe. Since he left Nival a couple of years ago, Bachus worked as senior vice president of service for PlaydayTV and as a consultant for digital distribution firm IMHO.


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