Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anders Evju Joins PlayPhone To Head New Social Gaming Initiative

Destination & white-label mobile content shop purveyor, PlayPhone, announced this morning that industry veteran, and all-around great guy, Anders Evju has joined the company to lead its new mobile social gaming platform initiative. Evju is now SVP & General Manager of the PlayPhone Social business unit, which is charged with creating new mobile gaming communities, across mobile operating systems, leveraging the power of gamers' social graphs. PlayPhone Social will allow users to play multi-player games, post scores to leader-boards and earn virtual credit rewards for inviting their Facebook, Twitter, et al friends to join the fun. The platform SDK will give developers the ability to monetize applications using micro-transactions and subscription features. It will also integrate with leading ad networks, and support multiple payment methods, including Premium SMS, Credit Cards and PayPal.

Evju joins PlayPhone after a long, distinguished career with I-play & Oberon Media. He had been at I-play (known then as Digital Bridges) since 2000, where he served as general manager of the Americas. He played a critical role in that company's substantial growth during the middle part of the decade, by fostering powerful relationships with all the major US operators. From personal experience I know that much of the blockbuster success of The Fast & The Furious mobile games franchise, which realized over 15mil paid downloads prior to the iPhone era, was the result of his adept stewardship of the property in the US market. Soon after I-play's sale to Oberon Media in 2007, Evju took over management of that company's global online games operations.

Good thing for PlayPhone that they've got a solid guy in place, because this initiative will not be without its challenges. There are more than a handful of social gaming SDKs currently vying for developers' attentions, including publisher fielded offerings like ngmoco's Plus+, Chillingo's Crystal and AuroraFeint's OpenFeint as well as standalone products like Scoreloop. In addition, for many developers the social features provided by distribution channels, like Apple's Game Center, may be enough... granted those offerings don't work across operating systems. That said, I wish Anders & PlayPhone the very best of luck and look forward to seeing them do some disruptive stuff that will set them apart in this market space.

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