Last week, Andrew Sheppard left Kabam after five years overseeing the mobile publisher’s worldwide studios. Now, he has taken an officer role with Japanese mobile company Gree.
Gree announced today that Sheppard is its new chief operating officer. In this position, he is responsible for the company’s product development, marketing, and other game-production divisions. The new executive will oversee these teams from Gree’s San Francisco office. This comes after Sheppard has helped to turn Kabam into one of the top mobile and social game publishers — and Gree is looking for someone to lead it to that next level of success.
“We are thrilled to welcome Andrew to the team in San Francisco,” Gree chief executive officer Naoki Aoyagi said in a statement. “His experience and passion for the industry and his track record with free-to-play and mobile gaming make him an ideal choice for us.”
Kabam generated significant revenue by focusing on highly social games that often had big-brand tie-ins like The Hobbit or Fast and Furious 6. Sheppard will likely try to implement a similar strategy at Gree.
“Gree has navigated the rapidly evolving landscape for mobile games and maintained its position as one of the most successful companies in the world Along the way, they have shown tremendous leadership and the flexibility to change with the technology and needs of the user. It is for this reason that Gree
is an excellent next step for me,” said Sheppard. “I’m looking forward to learning from their successes in the free-to-play market here and in Japan and to leveraging my knowledge and experience in-game distribution, development, and operations to build the next generation of mobile games for players around the world.”
Gree established itself as one of the breakout companies in social and mobile gaming over the last few years, and it is always looking for the next big hit. One of its most-recent releases, Knights & Dragons, was its attempt to capture some of the success of Japanese megahit Puzzle & Dragons. While Gree’s game has found some success, it has failed to catch on in the important Japanese market.
Sheppard will likely focus Gree on making games that will find an audience important regions like the U.S., Japan, and China.