John Davison, a well-known figure in video game media, has joined Red Robot Labs in a new publishing position. Red Robot is a hot publisher of location-based mobile games such as Life is Crime, which boasts more than 4 million downloads.
Davison will take a new position as director and general manager of content and publishing. But his first project isn’t a game. Rather, he said in an interview with GamesBeat that it will be an app that is relevant for gamers, to be unveiled in the not so distant future.
In his new role, Davison will manage and curate content for the game community and developers as part of the unannounced project. The product will “tap into industry trends, gamer conversations and foster new social video game discovery,” according to the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. Davison’s role will also be important as Red Robot signs more third-party developers for the R2 platform, which is a location-gaming technology.
“As a video game industry veteran with a proven entrepreneurial track record, John is the perfect addition to Red Robot as we aim to disrupt and innovate the mobile space for gamers,” said Mike Ouye, Red Robot Labs CEO.
“”I have been in games media for 21 years, and the media has changed, and the audience has changed,” Davison said. “To me, this is pouncing on the opportunity at the right time. Mobile has been a passion for a long time. If I don’t do this now, I’ll never do it.”
Davison has managed global game editorial teams at Ziff Davis Media (Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1UP) and IDG Media. He was most recently vice president of programming at CBS Interactive Games, where he oversaw all content production for GameSpot and Metacritic, as well as Giant Bomb and Comic Vine. Before that, he was in charge of revitalizing the GamePro brand at IDG. He also founded What They Play in 2007 and sold it to IGN/Fox Interactive Media in 2009.
Red Robot Labs was started in January 2011 by Mike Ouye, Pete Hawley, and John Harris. It received funding from Social+Capital Partnership, Shasta Ventures, Rick Thompson (co-founder of Playdom), and Mitch Lasky (general partner, Benchmark Capital). Red Robot recently revealed its Life is Magic game.
Davison said he has known Hawley for a long time and met with him recently. In a conversation, they found they had been thinking about the same kind of idea to meet the needs of the gaming audience, based on mobile technology.
“The way that gamers interact is changing on the web,” said Davison. “The way that communities form and gamers self-identify is changing. The traditional media’s job is different. Gamers are congregating around individual games and tastes. There’s a lot you can do to help them.”
As for traditional paper-based and web-based game media, Davison said they are being disrupted by the rise of community-based media on YouTube, Twitch, and Machinima.com.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!