Lincoln Wallen Joins Improbable as CTO


Lincoln Wallen

New CTO brings experience of leading teams and technology development in games and large-scale cloud computing applications to Improbable.

Founding CTO Rob Whitehead to focus on developing SpatialOS and other Improbable technology products as Chief Product Officer.

London, February 12, 2019: Games technology company Improbable today announces that Lincoln Wallen, former CTO of DreamWorks Animation and EA Mobile, has joined Improbable as Chief Technology Officer. Wallen will bring his experience in building and leading technology teams to Improbable, which has grown to more than 300 people and raised more than $600m in funding since its foundation in 2012.

Wallen’s appointment will see current CTO and co-founder Rob Whitehead assume the role of Chief Product Officer, where he will apply his experience to leading development of SpatialOS, Improbable’s cloud platform for managing and operating online multiplayer games. As Chief Product Officer, Whitehead will lead Improbable’s product development and product management activities, and drive deep collaboration between Product and Engineering dedicated to making SpatialOS the technical foundation for the next generation of games and beyond.

Wallen joins Improbable with a strong background in software development and technology engineering inside and outside the games industry. As a Vice President at the game and games technology maker Criterion Software, he developed the company’s mobile strategy. When Criterion was acquired by games publisher Electronic Arts, Inc in 2004, this strategy informed the creation of EA Mobile, where Wallen served as Chief Technology Officer.

After EA, Wallen spent a decade at DreamWorks Animation as Head of R&D, Head of Animation Technology and CTO. At DreamWorks he oversaw the transition of movie production to a global operation in the cloud, and led the development of a cloud-native toolset for rendering, lighting and animation, cutting costs and transforming the way DreamWorks Animation made films.

Wallen is also a Visiting Scholar in Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), a non-executive director at Pearson PLC, the world’s largest education company, and a non-executive director at the Smith Institute for Industrial Mathematics and Systems Engineering.

Lincoln Wallen said: “I’ve seen how distributed compute and the cloud can disrupt entire market sectors, and create new platforms and business models. Improbable has the potential to power this type of change in the games industry. I’m excited by the chance to shape the incredibly talented engineering team at Improbable into a world-class technology organisation, and to help accelerate this transformation of both market and consumer experience.”

Herman Narula, Improbable CEO and co-founder, said: “We’ve reached the point where a hire like Lincoln will give us the experience and the insight to structure our growing team for success. This appointment effectively fills two critical roles. Not only are we getting a hugely accomplished CTO, but my co-founder Rob Whitehead, whose knowledge of and passion for SpatialOS is unmatched, will be able to focus on our product in a new role as Chief Product Officer. With a product as highly technical as SpatialOS, this is a critical role, and Rob is uniquely qualified to lead the Product organisation while Lincoln takes our Engineering capability to the next level.”

Improbable will be attending the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March 2019, showcasing SpatialOS and the latest product developments.

About Lincoln Wallen

Lincoln Wallen is a computer scientist with a proven history in the video game and digital media industry, driving market disruption in fields including game design, computer animation, cloud technology and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Lincoln was CEO of DWA Nova, a software-as-a-service company spun out of DreamWorks Animation Studios in Los Angeles, a position he held until 2017. He worked at DreamWorks Animation for nine years in a variety of leadership roles including Chief Technology Officer and Head of Animation Technology. He was formerly CTO at Electronic Arts Mobile, leading their entry into the mobile gaming business internationally.

Lincoln is a non-executive director of Pearson plc, the world’s largest education company, and also of the Smith Institute for Industrial Mathematics and Systems Engineering. His early career involved 20 years of professional IT and mathematics research, including as a Reader in Computer Science at Oxford.

He has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh University.

About Improbable

Headquartered in London, Improbable is a company dedicated to providing technology for game makers to enable powerful virtual worlds and simulations designed to help solve previously intractable problems. In gaming and entertainment, this enables game makers to create richer, more immersive and persistent virtual worlds.

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