Jonathan Knight, former SVP of Games at RockYou, has left the social game developer and publisher for a position at Zynga, RockYou CEO Lisa Marino tells us.
Knight joined RockYou after a nine-year stint at EA as an executive producer and vice president with credits on The Sims series, The Simpsons Game, and Dante’s Inferno. Marino told us back in April that he was brought in specifically to rebuild RockYou’s games business after the company struggled to transition from its origins as a photo-sharing app developer and advertising network to serious social game developer. To that purpose, Knight oversaw development on the Zoo World franchise and the launch of its sequel, and the acquisitions of developers 3 Blokes, Playdemic, and 3D social game engine developer TirNua.
Though RockYou‘s overall traffic declined by more than 50% across monthly and daily active users during Knight’s 11 months at the company, changes to its ad platform and key content updates to specific titles yielded rapid growth for Zoo World 2 and Playdemic’s Gourmet Ranch. The latest game launch is 3 Blokes’ Galactic Allies, which went live last week. Its next game is likely going to be Cloudforest Expedition from partner studio Loot Drop, which is expected to launch sometime this fall.
“We hired [Knight] to help us build out a portfolio of great products and he’s done the job,” Marino says. She tells us that Knight’s duties as SVP have been transferred to internal team members for the time being with no mention of seeking a replacement right away. “We have built a strong team of talent through a careful hiring process, our Studio Partners program, and acquisitions over the past year. The departure of Jonathan will not impact our game development pipeline or our plans to continue to launch quality titles.”
Knight declined to comment on his employment status at Zynga. It is not listed on his LinkedIn profile as of press time.