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Ex-game developer is the Master Chief of Citadel Securities

Developers coming into the systematic trading world after careers at Microsoft are nothing new. However, Citadel's brand new head of platform technology, took a slight detour that gives him a unique competitive edge: the world of Video Games.

William Archbell left Microsoft for 343 Industries, the Xbox owned developers of flagship franchise Halo in 2011. He went on to work for industry titan Riot Games, serving as a project manager for at-the-time new franchise Valorant. Then he was technical director for Microsoft backed game studio The Initiative.

After three years in that role, Citadel Securities snapped him up as an engineering team lead and a year. He was promoted to head of platform technology, based in Chicago, this month.

What makes game development such an attractive source of talent? Predominantly the infamous "crunch." Games have strict release dates to meet and the game, more often than not, needs to be perfect. You need only look at the infamous launches of Cyberpunk 2077 or Batman: Arkham Knight to see how catastrophic not meeting a deadline can be. (inFamous meanwhile, mostly launched without a hitch)

Finance appears to be the better option for the developers too. One gamer turned Jane Street developer is glad gaming is just her hobby. 

It probably helps that hedge funds and systematic trading firms pay a lot more than gaming companies. The highest software engineer total compensation reported on Levels.fyi for Riot Games is $320k... at Citadel that number was $890k, with base salary alone coming in $70k higher than Riot's TC.

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AUTHORAlex McMurray Editor

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