Ray Muzyka (BioWare)

Date: 
Monday 25/February 15:40

BioWare's first two decades: the evolution of vision, products and business

Dr. Ray Muzyka co-founded and was CEO of BioWare for nearly two decades, from its inception in the early 1990s through its development of multiple products at multiple locations, a major private equity investment by Elevation Partners, and 2007 acquisition by Electronic Arts, and its subsequent evolution into a Label within EA.

Ray retired from BioWare/EA in October 2012 and will provide a retrospective history of BioWare from his time there, describing how the company's business models, organizational structure and systems/processes evolved as it grew, and how in parallel BioWare's products and approach to emotional engagement transformed to reflect ongoing changes in the market of videogames.

Biography: 

Dr. Raymond Muzyka co-founded BioWare (http://www.bioware.com) in the early 1990s with the other co-founder of BioWare, Dr. Greg Zeschuk, after they earned their medical degrees at the University of Alberta. BioWare had its first external investor when private equity firm Elevation Partners invested in 2005 (http://www.elevation.com/downloads/News_11-3.pdf). After selling BioWare to Electronic Arts in 2008 (http://www.gamespot.com/news/ea-buying-bioware-pandemic-for-860m-6180818), Muzyka became a General Manager and Vice President at EA in addition to his CEO role at BioWare, and subsequently became a Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA's BioWare Label, comprised of eight BioWare studios and 1400 full time staff worldwide.

BioWare has created some of the world's best-selling titles, including the award-winning Baldur's Gate™ and Neverwinter Nights™ series, Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™, Sonic™ Chronicles: the Dark Brotherhood (for the Nintendo DS™) and the story-driven massively multiplayer game Star Wars®: The Old Republic™. Original BioWare-created intellectual properties include Jade Empire™, as well as the 2007 through 2012 Games of the Year, Mass Effect™ 1, 2 and 3, and the epic fantasy roleplaying series, Dragon Age™: Origins and Dragon Age 2.

During the course of his role at EA Muzyka managed BioWare’s development, marketing and business operations across eight locations (Edmonton, Alberta; Montreal, Quebec; Austin, Texas; Fairfax, Virginia; Sacramento, California; Redwood Shores, California; Los Angeles, California; Galway, Ireland). These included founding new studios (BioWare Edmonton, BioWare Austin, BioWare Montreal, BioWare Ireland), merging existing EA studios (Mythic, 2009; EARS, 2011; EALA, 2011) into the BioWare label, and acquiring external new teams (Klicknation, 2011). Muzyka was responsible for negotiating and managing the intellectual property agreement with LucasArts for the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and The Old Republic projects, as well as the Mass Effect movie agreement with Legendary Entertainment and Arad Productions, and multiple other major agreements.

In October 2012 Muzyka announced his retirement from BioWare/EA and videogames (http://blog.bioware.com/2012/09/18/from-ray-muzyka/), with his next career chapter focused on mentoring and investing in new entrepreneurs in technology/entertainment/new media, and social entrepreneurship/impact investment.

Dr. Muzyka is also a director and co-Chairman of CodeBaby Corp (http://www.codebaby.com), a leader in web-based virtual agent technology which enables companies to integrate engaging and interactive 3D characters with their websites, eLearning materials, and online services.

Muzyka obtained his Bachelor of Medical Science degree from the University of Alberta in 1990, his Medical Doctorate from the University of Alberta in 1992, and his Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario (Ivey School of Business) in 2001.

Dr. Muzyka is an active member of the Young Presidents' Organization, a Director on the Board of Trustees of the Stollery Health Foundation (http://www.stollerykids.com/about-us/our-board/ray-muzyka.aspx) a former board member (2001-2008) of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS), and was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 2011 for his work in the video game industry. Among other awards, he was named as one of Canada's Top 40 under 40 in 2005, received Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2001 and the BDC Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1997.