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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 22, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Seattle loses gaming godfather to NYC in Oberon reorganization

As part of a big rebranding/reorganization at Oberon Media announced today, Seattle studio boss Don Ryan has relocated to headquarters in New York.

Ryan joined the casual game giant two years ago, after spending 15 years at Microsoft where he was general manager of the games studio, where he pushed the company into the casual game business. Among other things, he launched the downloadable games service at MSN and Xbox Live Arcade.

At Oberon, he’s senior vice president in charge of the company’s newly unified publishing platform that was announced today.

Oberon’s now organized in two groups. One is a game publishing group that as of today will use the I-play brand, which Oberon acquired when it bought mobile game developer I-play.

The other is a distribution service that uses a cross-platform publishing system to power game services on PCs, mobile devices and TVs for clients such as MSN, MySpace and Comcast. That will continue to operate under the Oberon name.

Ryan said the reach of the services appeals to partners such as author James Patterson, for whom Oberon is releasing a series of downloadable “Women’s Murder Club” PC games starting next month.

“We can provide them a one-stop shop for getting in front of these millions of consumers a really compelling content offering,” Ryan said.

Ryan said his move to New York was for both professional and personal reasons — an infant son will be closer to East Coast grandparents, and it makes more sense for him to run the group from headquarters. He will continue to oversee the Seattle studio as well.

“As a company we’re going to maintain a presence there,” he said by phone from New York.

Ryan characterized the Seattle studio, which employs about 12 people producing and marketing games, as a creative hub; Oberon does actual game development mostly at subsidiaries and vendors in Eastern Europe.

Here’s a recent photo of Ryan provided by Oberon:

Don Ryan_Headshot.jpg

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