New MD for Big Fish Games

News on 3 Jul 2018

Aristocrat‘s Big Fish Games social gaming subsidiary has a new leader following the appointment of former Electronic Arts and Zynga executive Jeff Karp as managing director and president.

Aristocrat acquired Seattle-based Big Fish Games for $990 million earlier this year (see previous reports) and the company has been managed since then by Jeff Goldstein, Aristocrat’s chief digital and strategy officer.

Karp has more than 15 years of experience in the video games industry. He spent more than 10 years at game giant EA in a variety of positions, most notably as the executive vice president of EA’s Play Label. There, he oversaw recognisable franchises like The Sims and EA Sports.

At Zynga, where he was executive vice president and chief marketing and revenue officer, Karp worked on games like Words With Friends and Draw Something, and did a stint at GSN Games as the executive vice president of social and mobile games.

Most recently, he was the CEO of Sports Illustrated Play, which was acquired by Comcast/NBC this year. The digital youth sports platform had 17 million monthly users when Karp left the job in January.

“I am honored to be working with such a creative and talented group,” Karp said in a company press release. “Big Fish is a content-rich company and its employees are passionate about making great games that bring joy and fun to millions of players around the world.”

Among the leadership challenges Karp will face is a decision by a US federal appeals court earlier this year that Big Fish Casino gaming constitutes illegal online gambling, a finding which is currently the subject of an appeal (see previous reports).

He also faces declining financial performance experienced by the company last year, when both revenues and EBITDA were down at $466 million and $80.3 million respectively.

Big Fish currently employs around 740 people, most of them based in Seattle.

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