Two Gameview co-founders check out of DeNA while another starts a Canadian studio

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By Kathleen De Vere Comment

There’s a little bit of a shake up at DeNA’s Gameview Studios, the early mobile-social gaming company the Japanese giant acquired back in late 2010.

Having hit their earnout dates, two of Gameview Studios’ co-founders, Riz Virk and Mitch Liu have left the company to work on new projects — which are probably related to gaming. Meanwhile, Virk’s brother Irfan has decided to stay on at DeNA and start a new gaming studio for the company in Vancouver.

According to Liu and Virk’s profiles on LinkedIn, both left Gameview Studios in January. Liu is currently listed as the co-founder and president of Stealth Newco and Virk is the co-founder of a company called Bayview (which is what he used to incubate his last gaming company and help jumpstart rivals like Pocket Gems, which used to be called Streetview). The change means that all three original Gameview co-founders are now onto other projects

Gameview’s third co-founder, Irfan Virk used to run an office out of Pakistan that developed titles inexpensively for the company. Now he will be heading up DeNA’s new subsidiary studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. Scheduled to open in late February, the studio will be called DeNA Studios Canada and will be responsible for design, development and operation support for other DeNA group companies. But it will primarily support Gameview titles. According to DeNA, the new Canadian studio will start with $600,000 in funding.

DeNA, which is trying to build out a global mobile-social gaming network called Mobage, bought Gameview in Sept. 2010 for an undisclosed sum. Gameview’s best-known game is Tap Fish, which makes more than $1 million a month in revenue and is currently the top grossing app in the Android market. Virk recently did a spot on The Daily Show where he defended the freemium gaming model and his game Tap Fish.

Around the same time DeNA bought Gameview, it also agreed to pay up to $403 million for another U.S.-based gaming company, ngmoco:). But we haven’t seen much turnover with that deal as the last part of their earnout kicks in during the middle of this year. Ngmoco’s chief executive Neil Young also became a director at the company.

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