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|Other names||Raymond Muzyka|
|Known for||Founder of BioWare|
Ray Muzyka is a Canadian investor, entrepreneur and physician. Originally trained as a medical doctor and practicing as an emergency room and family physician after graduation, he is the co-founder of video game developer BioWare, and was CEO, senior vice president, and general manager of the BioWare label of Electronic Arts (comprising BioWare Edmonton, BioWare Austin, BioWare Montreal, BioWare Ireland, BioWare Victory, BioWare San Francisco, BioWare Sacramento and Mythic Entertainment). In October 2012 he announced that he was embarking on a 'third career' mentoring and investing in technology, new media, medical and social entrepreneurs, and impact investing at ThresholdImpact.
Muzyka co-founded BioWare, which was incorporated in 1995, with Greg Zeschuk and Augustine Yip, in the early 1990s after they earned their medical degrees at the University of Alberta. After selling BioWare to Electronic Arts in 2008, Muzyka became a general manager and vice president at EA in addition to his CEO role at BioWare, and subsequently was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of the BioWare label at EA.
In addition to his project development role, Muzyka has also managed the financial, human resources, operations, marketing and legal business side of BioWare, and he completed his executive Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program in 2001 at the Ivey School of Business, UWO. He completed his Medical Doctorate (MD) in 1992 from the University of Alberta, and subsequently obtained his specialization from the Canadian College of Family Physicians (CCFP) in 1994. Muzyka was named as one of Canada's "Top 40 under 40" in 2001, received Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award (Software and Information, Prairies) in 2001, and the BDC Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1997. Muzyka also graduated from Old Scona Academic High School in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where he took the International Baccalaureate program, finishing fourth world-wide and first in North America the year he graduated. Muzyka and Zeschuk were inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 2011. and received the Lifetime Achievement award from the International Game Developers Choice Awards in 2013.
Muzyka was from 2001-2008 a board member of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, and serves as a Director and Co-Chairman of CodeBaby Corp, another software company developing a next generation interface for digital media and the Internet. Muzyka joined the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation as a volunteer Director on their Board of Trustees in September 2012. Muzyka is an active member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), and a Charter Member of the A100 since 2012. He also serves as the Chair of the University of Alberta Venture Mentoring Service since fall 2013, a program intended to help develop, uplift and inspire University of Alberta student and alumni entrepreneurs by creating excellent mentorship experiences for both entrepreneurs and mentors. Muzyka is also a member of the University of Alberta Board of Governors.
In October 2012 Muzyka announced on the BioWare website that he was retiring from the video game industry and that he is moving on to a 'third career chapter', mentoring and investing in entrepreneurs in technology, new media, medical innovation, and social entrepreneurs and impact investing. He announced his new company, Threshold Impact, in early 2013, to be focused on "sustainable, profitable impact investing". In October 2012, he stated:
After nearly two decades in videogames, I've decided to move on to pursue an entirely different set of challenges. This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make; after thinking about it for many months, I made the decision to retire from videogames back in early April 2012 – at that time I provided six months' notice to EA, to help enable a solid transition for my teams at BioWare.
The decision to leave the videogame industry is hard to explain, but essentially I feel similar now to how I felt in the early days of BioWare over the decade post-medical school, while I was still practicing as an ER physician, back when I first realized that the world of video games was my next career ‘chapter’. Two wonderful decades working at BioWare and later EA was the result of that decision. It’s not often that you can truly say you were able to pursue and achieve your dream job; I know how lucky I am to be able to say that now, in my early 40s.
I feel the need now to move on to a new chapter in my career. With the growth of BioWare to multiple locations as part of a public company, following two decades of multiple successful product launches across many platforms and business models, I’ve largely personally achieved what I wanted in videogames; I now desire to take on a brand new entrepreneurial challenge. I believe strongly in the power of free enterprise to enable sustainable change, so my next ‘chapter’ will likely focus on an entirely new industry, something exciting, different and frankly downright scary – investing in and mentoring new entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the field of social/impact investing. There’s a good description of the goals of this form of entrepreneurship here. Impact investment, or social entrepreneurship, can range from simply thinking about social goals along with the usual business profit goals, all the way to a dedicated focus on a social entrepreneurship portfolio with the social impact defined as the primary goal. For me, getting involved in social impact investment stems from the simple hope of helping the world to be a better place. To that end, I’ll also be spending time getting involved with more charities in education, health care, and animal rights, areas where my wife and I’ve typically focused our charitable donations in the past. I am also spending more time learning about the work being done to defend human rights and civil liberty across the world. Net, I am passionate about both entrepreneurship and social liberty, and I want to find a way to pursue both of them.—Ray Muzyka
An avid poker player who plays in the WSOP and other events each year, Muzyka won the inaugural DICE poker tournament, in 2006 which featured a range of notable poker celebrities such as Scott Fischman, Chris Ferguson and Perry Friedman, playing heads-up with Mike Morhaime from Blizzard Entertainment at the final table. He also became the only player thus far to win the DICE tournament twice, when he chopped the final table with three other players for first place again in the 2010 DICE tournament. He competed in the 2008 WCPC CPT Main Event (Western Canadian Main Event, Canadian Poker Tour) and chopped the final table with the final four players to take home the 2008 WCPC ring. He finished 374th of 7319 players in the 2010 Main Event of the WSOP.
BioWare projects credited with platforms and dates
- Shattered Steel (PC and Mac, 1996)
- Baldur's Gate (PC and Mac, 1998)
- Baldur's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast (PC and Mac, 1999)
- MDK2 (Dreamcast and PC, 2000)
- Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (PC and Mac, 2000)
- Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal (PC and Mac, 2001)
- MDK2: Armageddon (PS2, 2001)
- Neverwinter Nights (PC and Mac, 2002)
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic ("KotOR") (Xbox and PC and Mac, 2003)
- Jade Empire (Xbox, 2005/PC, 2006)
- Mass Effect (Xbox 360, 2007/PC, 2008/PlayStation 3, 2012)
- Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (2008)
- Dragon Age: Origins (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Mac, 2009)
- Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360, PC, 2010)(PlayStation 3, 2011)
- Dragon Age II (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, 2011)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC, 2011)
- Mass Effect 3 (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, 2012)
Awards and recognition
- Ray Muzyka (2012). "FROM RAY MUZYKA". BioWare. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- BioWare (2012). "RAY MUZYKA & GREG ZESCHUK RETIRE". BioWare. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- BioWare Community Team. "From Ray Muzyka". bioware.com.
- "Threshold Impact". Threshold Impact.
- Onstad, Katrina (October 23, 1999). "The West's new Gold Rush: Two young Edmonton doctors who created the Baldur's Gate phenomenon plot their next move: Doctors with an obsession for video games have created Baldur's Gate – a game that's selling feverishly", National Post, p. 2.
- Ewalt, M. Dave (2011, June 27). Forbes, Obsessed With Imagination: BioWare's Co-Founders On Storytelling And The Future Of Mass Effect, Retrieved July 27, 2015 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2011/06/27/bioware-ray-muzyka-greg-zeschuk/
- "Physician Profile". Cpsa.ab.ca. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "High Score". Alberta Venture. 2002-01-19. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Ray Muzyka’s Next Chapter". New Trail. 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
- BioWare Founders Inducted Into AIAS Hall Of Fame
- "Game Developers Choice Awards | Archive | Lifetime Achievement". Gamechoiceawards.com. 1997-10-04. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "leadership — CodeBaby". Codebaby.com. 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "About Us". Stollerykids.com. 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Username / Password Sign In". ypowpo.org.
- "Raymond Muzyka". The A100. 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Gaming guru helps students level up - News & Events - University of Alberta". News.ualberta.ca. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- Canada. "UAlberta Venture Mentoring Service - Alumni and Friends - University of Alberta". Alumni.ualberta.ca. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "University Governance" (PDF). www.ualberta.ca. 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-28.
- "About". Threshold Impact.
- [dead link]
- "Sega Announces BioWare Will Create Sonic Role Playing Game For Nintendo DS". 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007.
- "Dragon Age Inquisition". Dragonage.com. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Mass Effect". Mass Effect. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Star Wars: The Old Republic". Swtor.com. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- Makuch, Eddie (11 February 2013). "BioWare founders getting Lifetime Achievement Award". Gamespot. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
Media related to Ray Muzyka at Wikimedia Commons