Sean Ryan jumps from News Corp. to Facebook

Ronny Kerr · January 3, 2011 · Short URL:

Veteran in the online gaming space to work closely with developers on Facebook platform

Sean Ryan, on the right

Angel investor and online gaming veteran Sean Ryan has left his position at News Corp. to head partnerships on Facebook's gaming platform, according to unnamed sources.

Ryan just accepted a new role as EVP/GM of Games at News Corp. in July 2010, but with social gaming so hot on Facebook right now, it’s little wonder that he would take on a new role there so soon.

Previously, Ryan served in executive positions at RealNetworks and SegaSoft Networks. He currently serves as chairman of the board at Meez, a virtual world he founded in 2005, and leads a digital media and monetization strategy consulting firm called Loki Partners.

Just a few months before accepting a position at News Corp. last year, Ryan posted an in-depth piece on his blog entitled The Resurgence in Open Social Gaming, which argues that as Facebook slowly becomes a less welcoming environment for developers, the Open Social standard would grow more and more in 2010. I would say we didn’t really see that, but maybe that’s up for debate.

Still, Ryan makes some interesting points in the post:

[I]t has become abundantly clear to anyone not living in a cave that social gaming is the ONLY truly profitable feature of a social network. And even better, it drives higher user engagement, not just revenue, since users return repeatedly to the site and often contact friends in order to get them to participate in games.

Truly, the ease with which Facebook rose past 500 million users and aims to approach one billion, as Zuckerberg believes will happen with confidence, seems directly correlated to the rise of social gaming success stories like Zynga and Playdom. Could this be a part of the reason how Facebook just raised $500 million? Could it be why Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers? Apps, and games in particular, keep people coming back for more, and Facebook and the iPhone are two of the latest tech innovations to prove this.

So what did Ryan think about Facebook as a platform in March 2010?

Facebook is still a world class developer and user platform - but no one can pretend that the landscape hasn't changed in the past 2 years. Smart developers and FB competitors are moving quickly to launch robust Open Social gaming solutions to drive their businesses - otherwise they will just continue to be demolished by FB, as we're seeing in many cases around the world.

Now I’m wondering if he’d give that same advice today.

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