Fresh from being bought out by Aristocrat Leisure Ltd, Big Fish Games Inc has announced a video game veteran as its new leader. Jeff Karp’s (pictured) appointment as Big Fish’s managing director and president was announced on Monday.
Mr Karp has 15 years’ experience in developing online gaming franchises such as Words With Friends, Farmville, The Sims franchise, Bingo Bash and GSN Casino at companies such as Electronic Arts Inc, Zynga Inc and GSN Games Inc. Most recently, Mr Karp was chief executive of Sports Illustrated Play, a digital platform that concentrates on sports for young people. The platform has more than 17 million users a month and was acquired by Comcast/NBC this year.
“Jeff’s expertise in growing games into global entertainment franchises is unsurpassed,” said Jeff Goldstein, Aristocrat’s chief digital officer and chief strategy officer, in a prepared statement. “His proven track record and deep experience in the games industry make him the ideal person to drive Big Fish’s growth strategy.”
Australian slot machine maker Aristocrat offered US$990 million in cash for Big Fish in late November. The sale of the wholly-owned unit of United States-based horse racetrack operator Churchill Downs Inc was completed in January.
Big Fish calls itself an innovative developer and world-class publisher of casual game franchises. Aristocrat hopes to leverage Big Fish’s digital design know-how to create the second-biggest social casino publisher.
Social casino gaming products commonly use online social media platforms for distribution, and traditional bricks and mortar casino operators and casino equipment suppliers see them as vehicles to promote brand and product awareness; to encourage customers to use their products in traditional casinos; and to harvest data on players.
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Chairman of Hong Kong-listed casino investor NagaCorp