Free-to-play developer Socialspiel announces round of funding, new CEO

socialspiel-650Image via Socialspiel

Free-to-play games developer Socialspiel has announced a six-figure funding round, as well as a change of CEO. The Austrian game developer is comprised of former RockStar Games developers, which, combined, have contributed to the development of over 50 games for console, mobile and more.

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King taps tech industry veteran Robert Cohn as a new member of its board of directors

New King logoGame company King today announce that it’s adding tech industry veteran and former co-founder and CEO of voice mail supplier Octel Communications Robert Cohn to its board of directors.

“We are excited to have Bob join our board given his broad experience with public and private companies across the globe and the exceptional work he has done with his current and past portfolio of businesses,” said Riccardo Zacconi, co-founder and CEO of King, in a statement.

After founding Octel Communications with Peter Olson, Cohn ran Octel as the chairperson and CEO until it was acquired by Lucent Technologies, where he then took on the role as executive vice president. He also held a position at Sequoia Capital as an investment partner as well as served on or chaired public and private boards from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Lastly, Cohn was a governor of Nasdaq for three years.

“King has seen tremendous growth over the past couple years and has become one of the most prominent companies to impact the games industry today,” said Cohn, in a statement. “I’m impressed with the team, the company’s culture, the stellar business model and the exciting challenges ahead. I look forward to serving on King’s board.”

King, which now sees 12 billion gameplay sessions a month worldwide, was last in the news when it rebranded the company from King.com to King as well as announced two new saga games for Facebook, which were Japanese Pachinko-like title Papa Pear Saga (read our review here) and match-3 puzzler Farm Heroes Saga. King’s match-3 puzzle game Candy Crush Saga was also recently named as the most downloaded free app in March for iOS globally by Distimo.

New hires in social games: Kabam, Akamon and more

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Due to changes in the way Linkedin displays hiring information we have have changed the format of our weekly new hires posts. Companies who want their new hires included in the post must contact us directly at mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com.

Hiring in the social games sector was down this week with six new hires overall between four companies. Z2Live reported the most activity with three new hires. The highest profile hire of the week was Mike DeLaet who joined Kabam as its senior vice president of worldwide business development. DeLaet comes to Kabam from Glu Mobile where he was senior vice president of global publishing.

If your mobile game or social app company is hiring new people or making a notable promotion, please get in touch with us. Email us at: mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com, and we’ll get your news into an upcoming post.

If you want to know who else is hiring, the Inside Network Job Board showcases current openings with the industry’s leading companies.

Akamon

  • Leonid Kyrpychenko, Payment Systems Manager — used to work in Vistaprint and Pocket Kings.

Kabam

  • Mike DeLaet, senior vice president of worldwide business development — DeLaet is a 15-year veteran of the games and telecommunications industries, having been senior vice president of global publishing for Glu Mobile since 2009, and senior manager of games and business development with Sprint Nextel Corp.

Plumbee

  • Thanos Tintinidis, Associate Software Engineer – Tintinidis studied at National Technical University of Athens and obtained a Diploma (MEng), Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Z2Live

  • Glen Pryer, Vice President of Operations – Pryer used to work at 38 Studios and Blizzard.
  • Adam Flanders, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing — Flanders was SVP of Sales and MArketing at Glu Mobile.
  • Shanis Windland, Senior Director of Finance – Windland used to work at Big Fish Games.

Mike DeLaet is Kabam’s new head of worldwide business development

MikeDeLaetMobile social developer Kabam today announced Mike DeLaet has been brought on board to serve as Senior VP of Worldwide Business Development.

DeLaet comes to Kabam after serving as the Senior VP of Global Publishing at Glu Mobile since 2009. Before that, he was the Senior Manager of Games and Business Development at Sprint Nextel Corp.

According to a company statement, DeLaet will report to Kabam COO as he oversees the company’s business partnerships with companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. This is definitely an area of expertise for DeLaet, who led Glu’s expansion into Asia with hirings in several countries and localized launches of the company’s games.

This latest hire highlights how bullish Kabam is about pursuing an international audience. Although Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North is one of the top-grossing iOS games, several international markets (especially Asia) are considered untapped gold mines for developers simply because there is such a huge demand for new content by a truly massive audience.

New hires in social games: Social Point and Big Viking Games

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Due to changes in the way Linkedin displays hiring information we have have changed the format of our weekly new hires posts. Companies who want their new hires included in the post must contact us directly at mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com.

Hiring in the social games sector was up this week with 29 new hires overall between two companies. Social Point reported the most activity, updating us with 27 new hires they made in the past few months. There were no high profile hires to report this week.

If your mobile game or social app company is hiring new people or making a notable promotion, please get in touch with us. Email us at: mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com, and we’ll get your news into an upcoming post.

If you want to know who else is hiring, the Inside Network Job Board showcases current openings with the industry’s leading companies.

Big Viking Games

  • Tom Gwozdz, Software Developer — Gwozdz has several years of experience, most recently at Antic Entertainment.
  • Guillaume Couture-Levesque, Software Developer – Couture-Levesque has more than 5 years of professional experience, most recently with IBM.

Social Point

  • Jean-Laurent Wotton, CRO — Wotton was Director of performance marketing at Badoo.
  • José Luis Cantos Lechuga, Product Owner – Lechuga worked as product manager mobile at Spil Games.
  • Daniel Andrés Alonso Vélez, Project Manager — Vélez used to be a Jr. Producer at Digital Legends Entertainment.
  • Martin Griffin Alan, Project Manager — Alan was formerly a project manager at EF Education.
  • Christoph Bruger, Game Balancer – Bruger was previously at Goodgame Studios.
  • Alejandra Saiz Xibille, Data Analyst — Xibille came to Social Point from SDG Consulting where she was Consultora.
  • Julián Serrano Cazallas, Game Designer — Cazallas was a project manager and game designer at Red Candle Studio.
  • Pablo Fernández Morenilla, Technical Artist/Interface Designer — Morenilla was an illustrator and graphic designer at Indeep.
  • María Muñoz Pozuelo, Illustrator — Pozuelo used to work at Blinzy Studios as a 2D artist.
  • Sebastián Fábrega, Animator — Fábrega also joined the company in this latest round of hires.
  • Victor González Irimia, Mobile Developer — Irimia used to be a freelance Android and iOS developer.
  • Marc Cuscullola Masip, Mobile Developer — Masip worked as a QC Technician and Engine Programmer at Ubisoft.
  • Xavier de la Fuente Caballe, Mobile Developer — Caballe was formerly a programmer at Mobetia.
  • Ricardo Valverde Horcaja, Mobile Developer — Horcaja was previously a GUI Designer and Programmer at E2M Tallers Electro-Mecànics.
  • Antoni Domingo Ortells, Mobile Developer — Ortells comes to Social Point from Codiwans where he was a video game programmer.
  • Roberto García, Mobile Developer — García was last employed at MeriStation Magazine.
  • Ian Monge Perez, PHP Developer — Before joining Social Point Perez was CTO of OcioMedia.
  • Javier Exposito Fernández, PHP Developer — Most recently Fernández was Analista programador at Divinizy.com.
  • Antar Moratona Franco, PHP Developer — Franco was formerly at Undead Coders.
  • Enrique Salvador Montegut, QA Tester – Montegut also joined the company recently.
  • Álvaro Medina Agraz, QA Tester — Agraz comes to Social Point from Dolores Entertainment
  • Aurelio Provedo Cobos, QA Tester — Cobos was previously a playtester at Digital Legends Entertainment.
  • Jon Busquets del Alamo, QA Tester — del Alamo was formerly a Spanish Linguistic Tester at Enzyme Testing Labs.
  • Lidia Rodríguez Goméz, QA Tester — Goméz was a Localization QA Tester at Activision-Blizzard
  • Eduardo Caldrón López, Flash Developer — López worked as Technical Director at Teravision games.
  • Alberto Piantanida, Flash Developer — Piantanida was recently a Senior Flash Platform Developer at Inside a bit.
  • Fco. Javier Ruiz Bautista, Help Desk — Bautista comes to Social Point from Entelgy where he was Técnico Operador en Administración de Sistemas Informáticos.

New hires in social games: Akamon, East Side Games and more

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Due to recent changes in the way Linkedin displays hiring information we have have changed the format of our weekly new hires posts. Companies who want their new hires included in the post must contact us directly at mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com.

Hiring in the social games sector was up this week with 18 new hires overall between five companies. Wooga reported the most activity with seven new hires. There were no high profile hires to report this week.

If your mobile game or social app company is hiring new people or making a notable promotion, please get in touch with us. Email us at: mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com, and we’ll get your news into an upcoming post.

If you want to know who else is hiring, the Inside Network Job Board showcases current openings with the industry’s leading companies.

Akamon Entertainment

  • Jose Antonio Hernandez, PHP programmer – Hernandez used to work at Informance and CSD.
  • David Camarena, PHP programmer – Camarena also joins the company in this latest round of hires.
  • Paolo Gambardella, Game Designer – Gambardella has held positions at Digital Chocolate, Zitro Laboratory and Bit4id.

East Side Games

  • Alex Miller, software engineer — Miller was most recently at SoMedia Networks.

Mediatonic

  • Dave Ulliott, Data Analyst – Ulliott recently moved on from his role at Legal and General to join Mediatonic.
  • Barry Prendegast, UI/UX Designer – Barry had spent time working for Relentless Software before joining Mediatonic.
  • Craig Bendell, PHP Games Developer – Bendell joined Mediatonic after working at Emosaic Limited.
  • David Layton, Data Engineer — Layton was most recently at BSkyB and previously worked at CERN.
  • Kevin Hogan, Product Strategy Director – Hogan was promoted from Product Manager at Mediatonic having previously worked at Digital Chocolate.

MegaZebra

  • Tatiana Burak, software developer – Burak joined from Travian Games.
  • Witek Trzcionka, artist — Trzcionka previously worked as a freelancer for several firms.

Wooga

  • Daniel Friedman, Game Artist – Friedman worked as a 3D animator at Plarium LTD.
  • Viitor Gomes Rodrigues, Engineer – Rodrigues was Senior Game Developer at Glu Mobile.
  • Florian Odronitz, Engineer – Odronitz co-founded twofloats.
  • Simon Rácz, Engineer – Rácz previously was Android Core Team Lead at UStream.
  • Anke Schumacher, Controller – Schumacher was Mitarbeiterin Controlling at Air Berlin.
  • Timo Voß, Financial Accountant – Voß was formerly Mitarbeiter Kreditorenbuchhaltung at Deutsche Telekom Accounting GmbH.
  • Nadia Zryanina, Engineer — Zryanina used to be a Java Developer at Home24.

Playdemic appoints Ian Livingstone as Chairman

livingstone

UK social games developer Playdemic today announced it appointed Ian Livingstone as the company’s Chairman.

Besides being an accomplished fantasy author, Livingstone is best known in the games industry for co-founding tabletop gaming company Games Workshop, and his position as Life President of Eidos.

Playdemic has seen some ups and downs in the past couple of years but it seems that the company managed to weather the hardships.

After seeing some success with its Gourmet Ranch in 2011, Playdemic was acquired by developer and publisher RockYou. Gourmet Ranch continued to enjoy growth following the acquisition, especially after the release of a couple of themed content expansions, but in November 2011 RockYou announced that the company had grown too big to remain profitable and sold Playdemic back to its founders as it downsized across the board.

Then, In March 2012, Zynga signed Playdemic on as a partner for its social games platform, Zynga.com.

We last heard from Playdemic in August 2012, when the developer announced it secured an additional $3 million in funding from the Watson family (the grandchildren of Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM).

These days Playdemic is seeing great growth with its Facebook game Village Life, which currently holds the No. 105 spot on Facebooks MAU rankings and more than 400,000 DAU-E according to AppData. We also gave the game a favorable review, which you can read here.

New hires in social games: Brainbow and Gloops

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Due to recent changes in the way Linkedin displays hiring information we have have changed the format of our weekly new hires posts. Companies who want their new hires included in the post must contact us directly at mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com.

Hiring in the social games sector was down this week with six new hires overall between two companies. Gloops reported the most activity with four new hires. There were no high profile hires to report this week.

If your mobile game or social app company is hiring new people or making a notable promotion, please get in touch with us. Email us at: mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com, and we’ll get your news into an upcoming post.

If you want to know who else is hiring, the Inside Network Job Board showcases current openings with the industry’s leading companies.

Brainbow

  • Bertrand Lamarque, Director of Engineering — Lamarque was previously a Technical Director at Playfish on games such as Restaurant City, My Empire and SimCity Social.
  • Herve Piton, Art Directo at Playfish – Piton held the same position at Playfish, working on SimCity Social.

Gloops

  • David Wright, Senior Artist – Wright was formerly senior artist at Pocket Gems.
  • Kaya Waters, Accounting Manager – Waters was a senior accountant at Sesaco Corporation.
  • Owen Pedrotti, Game Engineer — Pedrotti worked as a game engineer at Big Point Games.
  • Jordan Lee, Game Engineer — Lee comes to Gloops from Playmeme Games where he was a lead software engineer.

New hires in social games: Wooga, East Side Games and Akamon

infeature

Due to recent changes in the way Linkedin displays hiring information we have have changed the format of our weekly new hires posts. Companies who want their new hires included in the post must contact us directly at mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com.

Hiring in the social games sector was up this week with 20 new hires overall between five companies. Akamon reported the most activity with seven new hires. There were no high profile hires to report this week.

If your mobile game or social app company is hiring new people or making a notable promotion, please get in touch with us. Email us at: mail (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com, and we’ll get your news into an upcoming post.

If you want to know who else is hiring, the Inside Network Job Board showcases current openings with the industry’s leading companies.

Akamon

  • Emiliano Córdoba, Mobile Project Manager — Córdoba was PM and Art Director at Clarin Global.
  • Pedro Torres, Mobile programmer – Torres is a new addition to the company.
  • Sergio García, Designer — García is another new hire at Akamon.
  • Xavier Heras, Developer – Heras was a lead game designer at Tanoku.
  • José Navarro, Traditional Game Artist – Navarro is also new to the company.
  • Victor Manuel Boliches, Flash games designer — Boliches was also hired in this latest mobile-focused round.
  • Phil Delude, Head of RAI – Delude will report directly to Akamon’s director of marketing.

East Side Games

  • Amy Wilding, customer support champion — Wilding was most recently at A Thinking Ape.
  • Ernest Chan and Ken Calder, co-op software engineers — Both currently studying at Simon Fraser University.
  • Mark Woo, junior analyst — Woo is a recent SFU grad (communications), and has just finished an internship with Hootsuite.
  • Nicholas Obey, junior software engineer / QA — Obey’s a recent graduate of the Art Institute of Vancouver.
  • Will Ashmore-Ward, Flash artist — Ashmore-Ward’s a graduate of the commercial animation program at Capilano College.

FunTactix

  • Chase Beacham, Community Manager — Beacham was the Co-founder and online community manager for LoLReport.com before joining the team at Funtactix.
  • Matt Plotecher, Game Designer – Plotcher has more than seven years of experience in Game Design, most recently with Arkadium.

Plumbee

  • Paul Etherington, Java Server Engineer — Etherington  previously worked for various investment banks in the City of London.

Wooga

  • Samet Durgun, Marketing Manager – Durgun worked as a business development consultant at Oracle.
  • Jack Gilson, Senior Game Artist — Gilson was employed as an art director at Beatnik Games.
  • Astrid Castle, Game Artist — Castle worked as a freelancer, previously.
  • Reginaldo Valadares, Product Lead — Valadares was a head of studio at Glu Mobile.
  • Anna Wening, Office Manager — Wening was formerly an office and account manager at irema Relocation Services.

PlayHaven picks up AdMob’s Charles Yim as COO

Charles Yim_Headshot[1]Mobile game developer resource PlayHaven announced a new hire today with Charles Yim joining the company as Chief Operating Officer. Yim was previously at AdMob, which was acquired by Google in 2010.

PlayHaven’s mission is to maximize the lifetime value of a mobile game player; a large part of this strategy comes from advertising, which is where Yim’s expertise comes in. With more mobile developers turning to native video ads as a monetization solution, it makes sense to bring in a guy that helped AdMob launch mobile video on iPad and Android tablets. PlayHaven has grown to 60 since closing an $8 million third round of funding late last year.

The following is a brief interview conducted with Yim earlier this week.

Inside Social Games: Do you see Tablet emerging as the dominant “mobile” games platform in the next year, or are we already there?

Charles Yim: If you look at the games industry holistically, it’s pretty broad. Each different game genre — a casual game, a casino game, a hardcore game — they lend themselves to different users and tablet is a good platform for certain genres, but not all genres. I don’t think tablets are the end-all, be-all of the industry.

ISG: We’ve seen a lot of advertisers and ad platforms focus on video in the last year — including AdMob. Where can native ads go beyond video?

Yim: The ongoing debate that you find is in the advertising technology perspective — on one side of the spectrum, you have super native and then on the other you have scalable. When I think back to AdMob in 2009 when we came out with our own video ad unit, the companies were developing niche swipable video ad units, but the industry couldn’t scale those. Integrating with a large number of publishers was a difficult process to manage. Whenever you look at a new channel in native ads, there’s a natural dynamic tension between delivering a native, unique experience and something that can be scaled. AdMob’s [ad unit] was the first that really gained traction because it was easy for advertisers to understand. The things you could do outside of video is really a question of how much deep integration are people willing to do and are advertisers willing to buy into that experience.

ISG: What’s the biggest mistake game developers make in implementing ads on mobile?

Yim: Game developers have gotten much better at this, but they think about building their game before they think about monetizing it. They’re very focused on the player experience and afterwards, they slap ads on top of it. Savvy game devs in mobile understand that ads are a important part of the business model and they incorporate that into their game from the get-go.

ISG: Anything to add?

Yim: My motivations for joining PlayHaven are asking what are game developers doing well or not doing well. As the industry matures, the needs of the developers mature. As their business scale and grow, they run into growing pains they haven’t anticipated. PlayHaven has an incredibly talented team and the best perspective on what’s coming and on helping game developers manage their businesses.

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