David De Martini, former executive at Electronic Arts and Oculus, has passed away. He was 56.
De Martini is a game industry veteran, working within the industry for fifteen years. He first started as an executive with EA in 1998, and quickly became a major player in the EA Sports division, leading the development of many of the EA Sports titles, including NCAA March Madness, NASCAR, and the acclaimed Tiger Woods PGA Tour games.
De Martini was also the senior vice president and general manager of the EA Partners Program, which was launched in 2006. The program saw EA produce games for other developers outside of the EA label, which included several well-known titles between 2007-2012, such as Portal 2 by Valve, Crysis 2 by Crytek, Brütal Legend by Double Fine, and the Rock Band series by Harmonix. Most recently, the partners program has been working with Respawn Entertainment on the Titanfall series, with Titanfall 2 coming out this year.
In 2011, De Martini began working on digital distribution for EA, overseeing the creation of the distribution platform Origin in 2011. His tenure when in charge of Origin was met with some controversy, as he famously criticized Steam Sales in 2011, stating that constant, heavy sales “cheapens our intellectual property” and that Origin was to not be like the “Target” of game services, instead offering fair prices with occasional sales.
After a short tenure overseeing Origin, De Martini would leave EA in October 2013, joining up with Oculus VR. His short tenure at Oculus (lasting only ten months) would see him gain more third-party support for the Oculus headset, in a role similar to his time in charge of the EA Partners Program. After leaving Oculus, De Martini would start his own consulting firm, De Martini Consulting, and served on the advisory board of Side-Kick Games, a mobile and VR game developer.
De Martini Died early in the morning on June 1st, due to complications from a lung transplant surgery. News of his death shook up many industry insiders; including Tim Schafer, who stated vita twitter “Brütal Legend probably wouldn’t have happened without him.” and journalist Geoff Keighley, who posted a lengthy facebook eulogy for De Martini and fond memories of his guest appearance on his former show, Game Head. Electronic Arts also made a statement regarding De Martini, with EA saying, “David DeMartini was an institution here at EA for many years. His trademark wit, passion and warmth shaped every team, game and project he touched. We’ve lost a great one, and our hearts go out to his family, friends and everyone that had the great fortune to know him. DeMar will be truly missed.”
De Martini is survived by his wife, Monika, and two children, Christine and Dominic.
Rest in Peace, David.