Jobs news: Animoca signs Olivia Song as new head of BD for Mocaverse

15th May: Animoca Brands has appointed Olivia Song as new head of business development for Mocaverse. Song joins the Animoca team after 4.5 years as business dev lead at Avalanche Korea.

“With Olivia joining us, she’ll apply her network, experiences, and expertise of growing a chain into the Mocaverse Partners Network and further develop the interoperable infrastructure layer to bootstrap consumer growth.”

20th February: Shortly ahead of the recent announcement of BAYC-creator Yuga Labs acquiring NFT collection Moonbirds, former head of gaming business development at Polygon, George Yousling, was appointed new head of gaming BD at Yuga.

1st February: Animoca Brands Japan has appointed Kensuke Amo as Chief Operating Officer. 

Prior to Animoca Brands, Amo was working at Coincheck where he created the first NFT marketplace for crypto asset exchangers and the first IEO in Japan. 

In 2022, the company appointed him Managing Executive Officer and put him in charge of its NFT and metaverse business. In addition, Amo has contributed to the expansion of Animoca partner games The Sandbox and Otherside in Japan.

26th January: Previously best known for his work on Xbox Live Arcade, Greg Canessa has been appointed president and COO of Sequence developer Horizon Blockchain Games.

Prior to onboarding Horizon, Canessa was global director at Google, were he led operational and marketing functions for the company’s cloud gaming ventures.

17th January 2024: Axie Infinity-developer Sky Mavis has appointed its first Chief Financial Officer, Ellen Gormley. With over two decades in financial leadership roles, Gormley will define the company’s financial strategy including fundraising and investments, governance and day to day finance.

Prior to joining Sky Mavis, Gormely most recently led the financial team at DeFi network Radix, and before that she was Group Financial Director at web3 infrastructure company Bitfury.

Commenting on the new position as Sky Mavis CFO, Gormley says “The scale and growth Sky Mavis has achieved is a testament to its resilience and innovative approach to blockchain gaming. My role is to ensure that Sky Mavis has the best financial framework for sustainable growth and leverage my experience to optimize operational efficiency. I am excited to join a leadership team that is committed to its community, both internally and externally, and has pushed the boundaries of what is possible within web3 gaming ecosystem.”

7th December: Game developer nWay has announced co-founder Taehoon Kim is stepping down as CEO after 12 years to take on a new advisory role at its parent company Animoca Brands.

In a post on X, Kim commented “As I transition away from my CEO role, I am confident in leaving nWay in the very capable hands of our senior leadership and the Animoca Brands team. They will collaborate closely to ensure nWay’s continued success, including the development of Wreck League and other new projects.”

30th November: Dubai-headquartered Farcana has announced Carlos Rodríguez is joining the team as an active advisor and board member. Rodriguez is the founder and former CEO of one of the biggest global eSports teams, G2 Esports.

“I think Farcana is lending itself well to the gaming and AI scene as it becomes more known and respected among players experienced in shooter games. Right now, the game has attracted a lot of attention, but our goal is to reach the masses on all platforms”, commented Rodríguez.

28th November: The Telos blockchain has announced Justin Edwards as its new Head of Gaming. Edwards has previously been at Jagex (RuneScape), Lockwood (Avakin) and most recently COO of Decentraland.

As Telos’ Head of Gaming, Edward’s role will be to expand its newly built gaming ecosystem, and focus on innovative ways to integrate gaming with web3 and community.

17th October: The Sandbox has announced Nicola Sebastiani as its new chief content officer. He was previously head of games business development for Apple App Store and head of content at Apple Arcade and most recently head of mobile at PlayStation Studios.

In this role, Sebastiani will oversee game publishing and in-house game production for The Sandbox’s partners, including more than 250 agencies and studios within The Sandbox’s Partners Program and over 400 brand partners. He will also drive adoption for creator tools such as Game Maker for experiences and VoxEdit for in-game assets.

In conjunction, the company has announced two other appointments:

  • Mathieu Nouzareth, formerly The Sandbox CEO of North America, has been promoted to chief business officer, and
  • Amit Kumar, chief growth officer, will assume the role of chief marketing officer.

19th September: Azra Games has appointed Justin Jones as VP of product design for its hero collectible RPG Project Legends. Jones onboards the Azra team with 15 years of experience from designing RPG, collectible and strategy games including Dragon Age, Game of Thrones, and EA’s Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes.

“I’m excited to join a team of deep-knowledge RPG experts, many of whom I’ve worked alongside before, to pioneer the next-gen of Hero Collector RPGs and craft our own world, characters, and stories. My love for this genre and its history runs deep, and at Azra Games we are crafting the gameplay experience we, as players, long for in today’s market. I’m looking forward to fulfilling our mission to entertain the world with unforgettable RPGs,” said Jones.

6th September 2023: Singapore-based web3 venture builder Decentralised Gaming Ventures (DGV) has announced two strategic hires for its web3 gaming expansion across southeast Asia — Joseph Young as new chief investment officer and Alvyn Ng as senior marketing manager.

Joining from VC firm Hashed, Young has experience of managing gaming companies and will be in charge of the acquisition of web3 game studios and lead fundraising rounds, as well as enriching the team with his wider web3 experience. 

Ng joins from Garena, where he successfully ran campaigns for one of the biggest-grossing games in the region.

DGV CEOSamson Oh commented, “I am pleased to welcome Joseph and Alvyn to DGV. To fulfil our vision of transforming game development and publishing across Southeast Asia we’re giving game makers access to world-class mentorship, web3 know-how and community-building expertise, plus the understanding of how major entertainment IP can accelerate growth. This is what both bring to the table.

“With Joseph in particular, we welcome to our leadership team not only someone with a sharp eye for identifying top game developers, but a visionary thinker with an unmatched amount of experience and knowledge of web3 gaming.”

3rd August 2023: US game dev WAGMI Games — which is working on mobile TD game WAGMI Defense — has announced two key hires.

Esteban Gil was previously senior product manager at EA leading strategy and liveops for Apex Legends Mobile. He also worked on Garena Free Fire and is a co-founder of RetroSHFFL, a Mexican esports and streaming production team. At WAGMI,  he will oversee business strategy development, with a focus on driving consumer-oriented products.

Also joining is Brent Pease, who was previously director of operations at EA. At WAGMI, he will take a combined COO/GM role, overseeing operations with a focus on implementing key growth strategies.

20th July 2023: Following an open submission process and the voting of members, the Blockchain Game Alliance has elected six new people to its board. They are:

  • Leah Callon Butler, Director at Emfarsis
  • Yasmina Kazitani, Chief Marketing & Partnerships Officer at Interverse
  • Christina Macedo, Co-Founder, COO at Ready gg
  • Hideaki Uehara, Director Of Business Development at Square Enix Ltd
  • Mariano Rubinstein, CEO and Co-Founder at Sura Gaming
  • Alex Kosloff, Head of Business Development at Altura
  • 19th July 2023: MYSTiC Games, the game studio behind recently launched roguelike web3 title Call of the VoYd, has appointed a new chief marketing officer to its team, Vishal Pandey.

With a background consulting at Deloitte and McKinsey, Pandey brings his vast experience as a growth marketing and revenue specialist to the team. 

“The future of gaming is to make it more player-led and to give players ownership of the games they love so much, and MYSTiC GAMES will be the studio to build that bridge between Web2 and Web3 gaming. I’m thrilled to be a part of a team leading the charge in making that happen”, comments Pandey.

  • 14th July 2023: Pixelcraft, the developer behind the Gotchiverse gaming ecosystem, has announced that it has hired Andy Tudor as its new game director.

Tudor has previously worked at the likes of Electronic Arts, Slightly Mad, and PlayStation on games ranging from Need For Speed, Project Cars, 24: The Game and Test Drive.

  • 7th July 2023: Swedish soccer game Goals has added two new board members. Ebba Ljungerud was previously CEO at PC gaming publisher Paradox, while Oskar Gabrielsson was CEO at EA’s internal studio DICE.

He joins from Polygon where he helped build out the Polygon Labs teams as well as working at Polygon Ventures. Prior to this, Bryson-Haynes worked at blockchain consultancy firm DigitalX and in investment banking.

Currently Merit Circle is building its Beam gaming infrastructure on Avalanche, working with a small number of games such as Trial Xtreme.

  • 20th June 2023: Previously COO of web3 gaming infrastructure provider Stardust, Atif Khan has been hired by web3 infrastructure provider Thirdweb as its new veep of gaming.

The rising comes as Thirdweb launches a division specifically to focus on servicing game developers, which Khan will lead. Prior to Stardust, he was head of mid-market & in-app ads for global gaming at Meta.

Thirdweb raised $24 million on a $160 million valuation in August 2022, with VCs including Haun Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and Shopify.

  • 4th May 2023: Previously game product lead at Sky Mavis for Axie Infinity and before that Pokémon GO product manager at Niantic, Philip La has joined US studio Roboto Games as director of product.

Roboto Games is currently working on Foragers and Fighters, a “bite-size survival/crafting MMO”. It raised $15 million in funding in November 2022 from the likes of a16z crypto, Animoca Brands, Makers Fund and Merit Circle.

  • 28th April 2023: Yuga Labs has hired Mike Seavers as its new CTO, replacing Kerem Atalay, who will remain with the company as a close strategic advisor. Seavers will start work on 22nd May.

Since 2021, Seavers was EVP of Development at Epic Games, where he led the development teams behind Unreal Engine, Fortnite and the Epic Games Store. Prior to Epic, Seavers was CTO at Riot Games, supporting League of Legends, Valorant, and Legends of Runeterra.

“There have been rare moments over my career where I felt like a new technology was creating a true paradigm shift for the world,” said Seavers. “I recognize that web3 is one of those moments, and I am absolutely thrilled to join Yuga Labs to help usher in a new era of the internet that impacts the world for the better.”

  • 24th April 2023: AlterVerse Inc has hired game designer Rafal Nowocien. Previously he worked at CD Projekt Red on titles such as The Witcher, although over his career Nowocien has worked on over 70 games.

For the AlterVerse MMOG, he will be working on everything from game mechanics and item/weapon economies to player progression and designing in-game quests.

AlterVerse is currently working on releasing its F2P Sky City central hub with a closed beta expected soon.

It’s hired Jin Oh as a partner. Oh is the former president of worldwide publishing Riot Games, as well as CEO of Garena and MD of Blizzard. He’s worked on titles ranging from Starcraft and WoW to Free Fire and Valorant.

Jonathan Huang joins as a principle. Based in Singapore, Huang previously worked on investments at Sea Capital and Temasek.

Bitkraft has also promoted founding team member Jasper Brand to partner. He recently worked on deals such as Frost Giant Studios, Inworld AI, and Theorycraft Games. Meanwhile Justin Swart is promoted to principal. He works on Bitkraft’s web3 team, with a particular interest on Africa, and led the recent deal with Carry1st.

  • 12th April 2023: Sky Mavis’ veep, products (games) Philip La has announced his departure on Twitter. He joined the Axie Infinity developer in March 2022 from Pokemon GO developer Niantic Labs.

No reason was provided for La’s decision but the Sky Mavis community has been fulsome in its praise for his work on Axie Infinity: Origins and other titles, including the Builders Program.

La hasn’t said what he will doing next, other than to state he’ll be “taking some time-off to decompress before starting at my new gig”. You can follow him on Twitter and Substack.

  • 3rd April 2023: Yuga Labs’ new CEO Daniel Alegre has finally joined after serving out his notice period as chief operating officer at Activision Blizzard. His appointment was first announced in December 2022.

“As a lifelong gamer, I truly believe the game industry is going to be transformed by placing ownership in the hands of players. There are already massive vibrant markets around in-game items in games like Counter-Strike, and web3 technology is the perfect solution to enable game asset ownership in a scalable and connected way across an enormous universe of games and player communities,” Akhavan commented.

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