Welcome to Meet Team Xbox, which is your inside look at the key talent that drives our Xbox and Windows development here at Microsoft, in an effort to make your console and PC experience as awesome as possible. We recently spoke with Kim Wolfkill, Senior Partner Manager at Turn 10 Studios. In this role, he manages key partnerships within Turn 10 Studios to support the Forza Motorsport game franchise, including the all-new, critically acclaimed Forza Motorsport 6.
Prior to joining to Microsoft, Kim spent seven years as a senior editor at Road & Track magazine. Wolfkill has been with us for nine years – with the last five-and-a-half spent on the Xbox team. Previously, Wolfkill served as the publisher of MSN Autos, Microsoft’s online automotive information site. Today, his team manages Turn 10 Studios’ relationship with partners that include everything from major auto manufacturers, automotive accessory brands, and media companies to major auto racing series, teams, drivers, and racing schools. Wolfkill and team are part of a larger business unit within Turn 10 Studios that drives the business and financial direction of the studio, which includes business management, business development strategy, partnerships, and business intelligence.
“I’ve been part of the team that secures vehicles featured on the covers of our games, working closely with manufacturers such as Ferrari, Audi, BMW, McLaren, Lamborghini, and most recently Ford and their new GT supercar,” Wolfkill said. “Other projects have included promotional car packs with manufacturers like Honda, Mazda, and Hyundai – which have enabled us to give Forza fans free access to high-interest cars in conjunction with the launch of those cars in the real world.”
Wolfkill’s lifelong love of all things automotive has served him well during his career. He once competed in several top-line professional sports car racing series including SPEED World Challenge, Grand-Am Cup, the American Le Mans Series, and Porsche Supercup, as well as contesting the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1998, 1999, and 2004 – and while he no longer does that, he remains in touch with old friends, competitors, and teammates. This keeps him tapped into the professional motorsports scene, which ensures he’s always up-to-date on what’s happening… and aware of potential opportunities for Forza. His editorial years at Road & Track have given him a unique perspective, too.
“My past experience on the editorial and content side of the automotive business has proven beneficial when it comes to building and managing relationships within my current role,” Wolfkill said. “It’s helpful to already know how certain organizations operate, and what drives their business. Various automotive and motorsports connections – and a familiarity with those industries – have made it easier (and fun!) to connect my past (automotive) and present (gaming) worlds. It’s also been exciting to see these companies really start to ‘get’ gaming and realize the potential it presents to their businesses.”
Wolfkill’s ongoing efforts have had a huge impact on Forza as a franchise, making it one of the most visible and successful racing franchises ever seen on any gaming platform. “I’m proud of how my contributions to the team have genuinely shifted the perception of Forza within the automotive and motorsports communities. In just a matter of a few years, the team has made big strides in global awareness and exposure through partnerships with major brands like Top Gear, IndyCar, Fast & Furious, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Petersen Automotive Museum.”
In terms of games that Wolfkill enjoys in his off-time, you might be surprised – he doesn’t spend as much time behind the virtual racing wheel as you might think. “While a pretty decent shoe in the real world, my driving skills in Forza leave a bit to be desired,” Wolfkill admits. “So, as a result, I tend not to play racing game as much as others on the team. I actually gravitate toward shooters – where I’m fairly sure I’m just as bad, but not being a trained soldier in the real world, I don’t have an accurate reference to judge myself by.”
Wolfkill enjoys enduro and downhill mountain bike racing, dirt bike riding, and travel. He lives in Kirkland, WA and received a B.A. in Political Science from Reed College, Portland, OR. In addition to his automotive industry and motorsports background, Wolfkill also instructed for the ProFormance and ProDrive Racing Schools in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR, respectively. We’re honored to have him!