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Big Fish Games migrates to new HQ, with plans to reel in top talent with eye-catching space

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Big Fish Games has a new headquarters to go along with its new leader.

The Seattle-based gaming company, which was acquired by Australia’s Aristocrat Technologies for $990 million earlier this year, moved into its new office in Seattle’s Pioneer Square this week. In the appropriately named Maritime building, Big Fish has leased all the office space — 187,000 square feet in total — with more than enough room to house its 633 Seattle employees plus the more than 100 open positions the company is advertising online.

The move is another sign of a new era for Big Fish. In 2014 it was acquired by Churchill Downs Inc., operator of the famous Kentucky Derby racetrack, for $885 million and sold again to Aristocrat earlier this year.

Just this month the company announced former Electronic Arts and Zynga executive Jeff Karp is joining Big Fish Games as managing director and president. He is taking the helm permanently after former CEO Paul Thelen left following the Aristocrat acquisition.

Aimee Paganini, lead senior game producer for Big Fish, has worked through all these changes. In her six years at the company she’s worked on several of Big Fish’s flagship games like Fairway Solitaire and Panda Pandamonium, and right now her latest game, Let’s Dish, is in Google’s open beta program. Paganini, who leads a team of 27 people, said not much has changed with her day-to-day operations despite the company shuffling between two parent companies in four years.

“I’m really fortunate that I have a boss and a general manager that allows our team to run as a small business,” Paganini said. “They’re the investors, so we need to make them happy.”

But the new headquarters will bring major changes for Paganini and everyone else at Big Fish. Employees felt like fishes out of water in the old HQ space at 333 Elliott West, which Big Fish steadily grew into over the years.

The company started looking for space two years ago, and at the time it surveyed employees to see what they wanted. The main gripe was lack of transit connections. The old office, which is just a few blocks down from where Expedia is setting up its Seattle HQ for a move next year, only has access to a couple of bus lines. Pioneer Square is the transit hub of the region, with hundreds of buses and a light rail line just a few blocks away, and plenty of access to restaurants and other attractions.

“We were out on a deserted island or at least peninsula on Elliott Avenue, so coming here it really opened up the ability for people to go out and experience the neighborhood,” said Evan Cottingham, director of real estate and facilities for Big Fish.

The old office was never a perfect fit for Big Fish, as the company gradually took on more and more space in the building from Classmates.com. Gaming companies have different needs than traditional office users — testing areas, big desks to spread out multiple devices and monitors, lots of collaboration spaces for meetings — and none of that really existed in Big Fish’s old space.

For Big Fish, the new digs will help with recruiting in the competitive gaming hub of Seattle that includes tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft and others prominent gaming powerhouses such as Valve and Bungie. Before, Cottingham said its interview rooms were “windowless dungeons,” and now they look out over the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.

Nearby spaces for human testers will have multiple cameras that track eye and hand movement of users when playing.

“Everyone assumes that a game company, a tech company, is a playground, but there’s a lot of work,” Cottingham said. “I can’t fathom how much Aimee and her team does to produce a game, so I need to design for all those ideas.”

Big Fish leased the building close to two years ago in a deal brokered by Seattle real estate company Clark Fadden and has been waiting for its new HQ since. During that time, the Maritime Building has undergone a complex and unique renovation. Crews dropped three additional stories on top of the 108-year-old structure to add to the office space.

 

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Source: Press Release submitted to European Gaming Media

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mybet Holdings files for insolvency proceedings

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The governance of Frankfurt Xetra-listed betting group mybet Holdings SE has today issued a corporate update informing investors that it has filed for ‘open insolvency proceedings’.

The insolvency update follows mybet governance failure to sell the business to an undisclosed investor, as previously reported in July 2018.

This Friday, governance will file its insolvency application for three syndicated companies, of which mybet forms part of.

In its update, mybet’s board further informs investors, that it owes circa €4 million in sports betting taxes to the German tax office.

The betting group details that it had its request for a temporary tax suspension, denied by Frankfurt courts.

“The background for the application for the opening of insolvency proceedings is the failure of discussions with potential investors. Today, the discussions with a strategic investor reported by ad-hoc on the 13th July regarding the possible sale of the online business of mybet Holding SE under the domain www.mybet.com were closed.

These talks failed due to conditions set by the investors which could not be fulfilled” details mybet in its corporate update.

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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Melco casino employees protest

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Staff members of Melco, Casino, have decided to conduct a public protest over salary and working conditions.

They want the company to increase their wages and provide bonuses. The number of staffers in protest is still unclear. But the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association (NMGSRA) has claimed that there were 3000 people.

The employees want the casino to pay them what would amount to a fourteenth month in salary. Cloee Chao, who leads the NMGSRA, told local media, “Our demands are really simple. We hope that there will be a bonus in both Summer and Winter. We only want a 14-month-pay per year benefit. We also want dealers to receive their provident fund in full, which should include both the base salary and tips.”

The fight may stem from recent announcements by Wynn Macau and Sands China. Wynn indicated in July that it would be offering most of its employees a bonus equal to one-month’s gross salary, due to be paid on Aug. 15. Sands announced a similar deal, but its payout won’t take place until the end of the month.

Melco does not give any perks to its employees, other than a contribution to the staffers’ retirement fund. The amount provided is calculated from each employee’s base salary.

Protesters also want the casino to revamp its promotion system and improve its enforcement of the city’s ban on smoking inside casinos. Chao asserted, “We only want the smoking ban to be implemented normally and really don’t want to see the situation where employees were prohibited from voicing out when it is obvious that a customer is violating rules.”

The NMGSRA has previously made attempts to have the casino improve the conditions for its employees through dialogue and petitions. It also held a similar protest on Aug. 1 that attracted somewhere around 2,200 employees. However, those attempts have fallen on deaf ears, and Chao said that the workers will no longer try to seek mediation with the casino but, rather, will go directly to the government.

Source: calvinayre.com

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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KamaGames to launch crypto token

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KamaGames has announced the launch of its own KamaGames Token, which will use the existing blockchain technology and the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform. The company CEO Andrey Kuznetsov said that the marketing power of the European social mobile poker operator’s $25m token sale would lead to “quality” player acquisitions.

KamaGames Tokens will be available as a collection of in-game chips sold in a bulk block at the best price possible. Over time, players will be able to exchange KamaGames Tokens for more and more chips, with players rewarded with a maximum 11-fold growth for leaving their tokens untouched.

 “The token sale is an innovative way to provide players with cheaper chips and a crypto payment option, and is also a huge marketing campaign,” said Kuznetsov.

“In 2017 we decided to pay more attention to blockchain and crypto and I think it could be a game-changer for some industries. We started to gauge the interest in crypto from players and considered some new channels.”

KamaGames has enjoyed a bumper 2018, doubling the number of active users year-on-year in the six months through to June 30, with gross revenue growing by 53% in the same period.

“We built a top-notch platform to automate the process of acquiring users,” Kuznetsov added.

“We have something to offer to almost any kind of player who is interested in card games and if you personalise campaigns with a proper message and audience, based on the analytics.

“With this token sale, the number of active users will grow with retained and new players.”

The total value of the tokens lined up for sale is estimated at $25m (£20m/€22m), with the exchange rate guaranteed to increase at a rate of 25% every month during the first 36 months.

 “We are not worried that we will have uncontrolled inflation, because we’re distributing so many chips,” Kuznetsov said.

“We are aiming to generate $25m at a price of $1 per chip. We can distribute up to six or seven million more chips.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to not only thank our players, but to also show how KamaGames is passionate about embracing new technologies. In fact, we are the first social casino developer ever to offer a bespoke cryptocurrency to our players.

“We are confident that this launch will continue to raise our profile and help maintain the tremendous momentum that we’ve had this year; 2018 is shaping up to be our strongest year to date for growth, revenue and new game releases.”

“We will launch our games on up to three new platforms,” he added. “Two of those are certain as the games have already been developed and approved and both of those platforms are huge.”

The social poker specialist entered the Eilers & Krejcik top 15 rankings of social casino companies in the last quarter, with revenues up 12.1% q/q or 40.5% y/y.

Source: igamingbusiness.com

Source: Latest News at European Gaming Media

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