CastAR is a high-profile augmented reality startup, and now it’s kicking into high gear. The maker of the upcoming CastAR AR glasses has recruited former LucasArts chief Darrell Rodriguez as its chief executive. It has also appointed former Disney executive Steve Parkis as its president and chief operating officer.
In doing so, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is strengthening its management team, which still includes cofounders Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson. CastAR refers to its new leaders as “world-class executives” who will help guide it to the future of “mixed reality entertainment.” CastAR’s glasses let you see imagery overlaid on the real world, and it’s ideal for a new kind of tabletop gaming.
“Darrell and Steve not only share our passion for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in mixed reality gaming and entertainment, they are the one-two punch we have been looking for to drive CastAR into our consumer launch and beyond,” said Ellsworth, in a statement. “Together with our great partners at Playground Global, we’re poised to deliver a groundbreaking player experience.”
In over two decades as an interactive and entertainment media executive, Rodriguez has run some very big creative enterprises. He was president and chief operating officer of LucasArts, the former game company created by Star Wars creator George Lucas. Rodriguez also served in roles at Trendy Entertainment and International Game Technology.
Parkis has led teams at The Walt Disney Company, Zynga, and Storm8, producing globally recognized, award-winning and commercially significant products based on franchises like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean, CityVille, and FarmVille. He has been creating tech, entertainment, and interactive stories for 15 years. Parks will focus on further building out the team, platform, product execution and marketing strategy to bring CastAR to consumers.
“CastAR is primed to make mixed reality the place where the next breakthrough in entertainment will happen.” said Rodriguez, in a statement. “Steve and my experiences in digital entertainment, combined with the vision of Jeri and Rick, leave us both incredibly excited to drive the future of gaming through our first to market technology.”
CastAR was born as Technical Illusions in the greater Seattle area. It was started as a research project by Valve technologists Ellsworth and Johnson to build augmented reality glasses, which can overlay animations and other imagery on top of the real world. CastAR’s previous CEO was David Henkel-Wallace. A year ago, CastAR raised $15 million in a round of funding led by Android creator Andy Rubin’s Playground Global investment firm.