In the midst of a rapid expansion, SGN is announcing today that it has hired a number of managers from prominent video game companies, including a new No. 2 executive.
The social gaming company, which makes games for the iPhone and Facebook, hired Randy Breen as its chief operating officer. Breen previously served as an executive at game startup Emotiv Systems. He also held positions at George Lucas’ game studio LucasArts and Electronic Arts. He reports to Shervin Pishevar, chief executive of SGN.
The company has hired a total of 100 employees for its team at its headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., and its development offices in Buenos Aires. It owes the rapid growth to the rise of social gaming. The company started in 2007, developing games on Facebook in the days before social games took off. It had a hit in the game Warbook and followed that up with a bunch of new titles. It raised $15 million in a first round last year.
The company grew to tens of millions of active users for its Facebook Bebo, and MySpace games. In the past year, SGN has been expanding into iPhone games. About 24 percent of all iPhone and iPod Touches have a copy of SGN’s iBowl game, while its FAST jet fighter game has sold more than 400,000 paid copies.
SGN also hired Randy Angle, a veteran of games such as the Lord of the Rings, as director of game design. SGN’s art director is Margaret Foley-Mauvais, who spent 16 years in art direction at Electronic Arts. Dan Brazelton has joined SGN as executive producer, having spent 17 years developing games and films. And Adraina Gascoigne, formerly at social network hi5, has joined as director of global communications.
If you see a pattern here, it’s clear that veterans of the console video game business are moving into social games. This is all part of SGN’s quest to build a social gaming empire in competition with rivals such as Zynga, Playfish and Playdom, as well as traditional video game companies such as Electronic Arts.