GigaMedia appoints Dane Wu to lead social casino push

Taiwan-based online games developer GigaMedia has appointed Dane Wu as chief strategy officer as it plans to make a move into the burgeoning social casino market.

Wu will work alongside GigaMedia chief executive Collin Hwang and chief financial officer Dirk Chen to develop a strategy designed to strengthen the company’s business and generate sustainable revenue for the business.

The company first announced that it was to pivot into social casino games from real-money development in June last year, and is currently preparing to roll out multiple social casino games for mobile and desktop.

Wu joins from C&C Media, the Tokyo-based subsidiary of Chinese massively multiplayer online games developer Perfect World, where he served as president and chief executive.

Before taking charge of C&C, Wu was in charge of the company’s licensing division, responsible for establishing a licensing network of more than 50 companies worldwide and developing the world’s first, and largest, B2B customer support solution.

Hwang described Wu as “a dynamic leader, passionate about the games industry, with a rare combination of skills, experience, and business sense — qualities that are vital to successfully developing games operations.”

“I have no doubt he will have a major impact on Giga as we continue to re-imagine and strengthen our business,” Hwang added.

GigaMedia is also active in the casual games market through its Fun Town subsidiary. It was previously active in the real-money gaming sector, holding a stake in Mangas Everest, a company majority-owned by Betclic Everest Group. However the business’ struggles, with Everest Gaming having effectively been written off by Betclic Everest last year, saw GigaMedia relinquish its stake in 2012.

In its results for 2013, GigaMedia reported a 45 per cent drop in revenue to US$15.0m, reflecting lower contributions from FunTown related to an ongoing shift in game play from PC-based games to browser and mobile games.

The prior year period also included contributions from IAHGames, which was disposed by the company in August 2012. Loss for the year amounted to $34.8m compared to a loss of $15.3m in 2012.

GigaMedia said that it expects «accelerating» revenues in 2014 driven by new offerings of browser and mobile games and social casino games within its online games business, and by new products and services in its cloud computing business.

The company expects to launch multiple new mobile games and a new social casino game platform in the next six months, and expects to begin testing a new mobile social game platform planned for operation in 2015.

«The pace of future growth will be subject to the timing of our growth initiatives, as well as potential new strategic transactions, making near-term forecasts difficult,» said GigaMedia in a statement Thursday. «Nonetheless, based on progress to date in strengthening the pipeline, building new products, and executing new growth plans, management is confident the online games business will deliver growing revenues in 2014, beginning in the second quarter.»

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