As Hollywood eagerly tries to turn mobile and social network-based games into major revenue generators for its digital divisions, the studios are going after executives who have established themselves in that space, with Greg Ballard the latest hire.
Warner Bros. has tapped Ballard, a former chief at Glu Mobile and Capcom, to serve as senior VP of digital games for Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
Ballard will oversee all business and strategic aspects of the studio’s digital games business worldwide, which includes how PC, console and handheld games, as well as social network and mobile games, are distribbed. He will also oversee Turbine, the creator of “The Lord of the Rings Online” and other massively multiplayer online worlds, as well as manage the sale of virtual merchandise, in-game advertising and product placement deals in games the studio makes.
Ballard reports to both Thomas Gewecke, prexy of WBDD, and Martin Tremblay, president of WBIE.
“Mobile and online games are becoming a bigger part of the overall game industry,” Tremblay said. “Greg has a firm grasp on the complexities of this business from every angle and is the ideal candidate to lead our digital games efforts as we aggressively expand our presence in this growing market.”Added Gewecke: “In today’s connected world, consumers want their content on mobile, social and Web platforms and Greg’s expertise in these areas will be instrumental as we continue to make games more accessible across more devices and broaden our consumer base.”
Ballard most recently served as chief executive of mobile video ad network Transpera, and is a former president and chief executive of mobile gamemaker Glu Mobile.
He has also served as CEO of SonicBlue, was behind TiVo-rival ReplayTV and the Rio line of digital music players, along with MyFamily.com, now Ancestry.com. He was president of videogame publisher Capcom Entertainment.
His appointment comes just days after Disney announced that John Pleasants, the CEO of social gamemaker Playdom, will serve as co-head of the Mouse House’s digital division.