Social Game Universe CEO Nathon Gunn began exploring “new media” as a kid in 1983, programming and animating while living in India. In Malaysia in 1986 he developed new digital morphing techniques and then one of South East Asia’s first touch-screen kiosks in Australia in 1988. After starting a small video production business and releasing a shareware game in B.C., Nathon moved to Toronto for a degree in Computer Animation and Film from Ryerson University. Simultaneously he began working full-time at Chum Ltd. producing, directing, shooting and editing for Citytv, MuchMusic, Bravo, Fashion Television etc.
Nathon helped launch CHUM (Citytv, MuchMusic, Bravo!) Interactive, including the creation of three top web sites, a CD-ROM distribution label, two original CD-ROM projects, the first AOL Canadian partner sites and some of the first web-television events (“Sega Sunday” and “Bill Gates at Bravo!” etc) Nathon also created some of the first Usenet and web-based event coverage (recently termed ‘blogging’) at the Toronto International Film Festival and for Jeanne Beker’s ‘Fashion Television Diaries’.
Nathon was on the cutting edge of Internet broadcasting with the first backstage webcast of the 1994 Grammy Awards and the 1996 New York Music Festival (500 bands, 50 clubs worldwide). He co-developed some of the first e-CDs for BMG USA and has pioneered numerous technological innovations and business models for digital download and streaming initiatives in use today. Nathon co-founded Bitcasters in 1996 with business partner Duane Wall.
Nathon has produced and/or directed videos for acclaimed Canadian artists including Our Lady Peace (Sony), Temperance, Ron Sexsmith (Interscope/Universal), Patricia O'Callaghan (Marquis/EMI), Mia Sheard and the Rheostatics. He has won numerous MuchMusic video awards, including Best Video, Director and Post Production. Nathon has also made a number of short films, most notably “Following France” made over the course of several months in Europe.
Bitcasters’ first interactive project was a groundbreaking game for MuchMusic in 1996 and continued to develop BDA and Emma award-winning, fun and educational games enjoyed by several hundred-million players for the Charles Bronfman Foundation, Historica, Disney, Cartoon Network and Family Channel. Recent original games include The History Game Canada, powered by Civlization III and made available free to 100,000 kids, StormHawks Squadron a flash game with 50+ million plays, and Storm Hawks 3D, an original 3D multiplayer universe for kids with 40,000 members since January 2009.
In 1997 Nathon helped found the new media division of Miramax. He co-authored the business plan for “Miramax Digital” and assembled a world-class management team to execute it for Disney. In 1999 Nathon pioneered user-generated content tools with “Bitcast”, a forerunner of sites like Myspace and Youtube that facilitated easy publishing of content on an individual’s own “broadcast station”. In 2000 he helped launch Universal’s “bluematter” – the first major-label secure digital music distribution initiative.
Conference presentations include: FCMM Montreal, Toronto International Film Festival, Comdex, Ryerson University, Banff Centre, Sheridan, BBC Labs, The Personal Democracy Forum in New York and Harvard University. Nathon is featured in the “Canadian Who’s Who” reference, his articles appear in books and magazines such as “Searching for the New Liberalism”, C21Media and SHIFT and he’s featured frequently in press like the Globe & Mail and the CBC.
Nathon has served as an advisor to the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Charles Bronfman Foundation/Historica, has created technology initiatives in support of significant international world leaders and has run the technology strategy for former Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin’s successful leadership bid and election.
Nathon is on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Media Development Corporation and is a founding board member of Serious Games Canada. He is also a Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen’s University where the History Game Canada was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award. Nathon and this project were recently recognized at a White House event in D.C.
In 2009, Nathon launched Social Game Universe and two initial products, Hollywood Tycoon and Avastar Facebook with the backing of visionary innovators including Moses Znaimer, Clive Smith, Michael Cohl, Gary Slaight, Ron Dembo and Bruce Hooey.