Media conglomerate News Corporation has appointed Sean Ryan, former CEO of avatar platform Meez and blogging service LiveJournal, as the executive vice president and general manager of its new game division, which will focus on social game development.
Ryan is tasked with staffing and building the new unit around Irata Labs, the San Francisco-based developer News Corp. purchased in mid-April
. The small studio, which only claimed three employees when it was acquired, specializes in producing social games for Facebook, iPhone, and Twitter. It's best known for releasing the espionage game Spymaster
Prior to this appointment, Ryan was the CEO and founder of Meez, a virtual world and platform for creating/customizing portable avatars.
Previous to that, he was CEO of Listen.com, which was acquired by RealNetworks in 2003 and transformed into the Rhapsody online music service. He has also served as acting CEO of Live Journal and as a board member for microtransactions company Live Gamer.
Though News Corp. hasn't shared many details regarding the new games group, it has said that Ryan will report to Roy Bahat, president of the company's game network IGN Entertainment, according to a report
from PaidContent. The division will act independent of IGN, though, to keep News Corp.'s game editorial and game development teams separate.
News Corp. also owns social networking site MySpace, which has made efforts to strengthen its game offerings by courting third-party developers. The media conglomerate has promised that it will not incorporate Irata Labs into MySpace or any of its other major online assets, but it says the group may work with other units when appropriate.