New Hires in Social Gaming: 5th Planet Games, CrowdStar, Gaia Interactive & More

14 social companies showed hiring activity this week, based on information from LinkedIn and other sources, though most of the developers bringing on only one or two new individuals.

Out of these, three — SponsorPay, We R Interactive, and Wild Tangent — made managerial hires. As part of SponsorPay’s U.S. expansion, the company brought on Dave Westin as its new SVP and general manager where he will focus on U.S. sales and business development activities. Christian Purslow joins We R Interactive’s board as the newly created non-executive independent director. And as for Wild Tangent, it gains Brett Orlanski as its new director of business development.

As always, if your company is hiring new people or making a notable promotion, please let us know. Email editor (at) insidesocialgames (dot) com, and we’ll get it into this or next week’s post. Also, please note that the information about most new hires, below, comes directly from company updates from LinkedIn, and is only as current as each person’s profile.

Looking for new opportunities? The Inside Network Job Board presents a survey of current openings at leading companies in the industry.

Here’s this week’s full list:

5th Planet Games

  • Colby Schneider, QA Lead — 5th Planet Games brings on a single hire. Schneider was previously a QA analyst for Zynga.


  • Aggie Cheung, Artist — Joining CrowdStar this week, Cheung was previously an artist for Playdom.

Gaia Interactive

  • Yvonne Chow, User Interface Designer — In an internal shift at Gaia Interactive, Chow was previously a graphic designer.


  • Matt Durgavich, Game Programmer — GSN brings on Durgavich, a former programmer for Rockstar Games.
  • Lauren Foye, Mobile Publishing Manager — Also now a part of GSN, Foye was formerly a marketing manager for Isabella Products.


  • Christian Hernandez, UI Designer — iWin fills us in on the hiring of Hernandez, whose previous experience stems from Hitatchi GST.
  • Ariel Katz, Software Engineer — Also joining iWin is Katz, who is formerly from Sony.


  • Jill Hu, Flash Developer/Software Engineer — Now at Kabam, Hu was previously a software engineer for Ohai. That said, the hiring appears to only be a late update.


  • Vladimir Mitrović, Software Development Engineer — Joining Nordeus this week is Mitrović. He was previously a lead iOS developer for NextWidget.
  • Venijamin Živković, Software Development Engineer in Test — Also joining Nordeus, Živković was formerly an analyst team leader for ApexSQL LLC.


  • Samson James, Manager – Human Resources — Starting off a trio of new Playdom hires is James. James’ prior experience includes an HR executive position at Mind Source Consulting Services.
  • Stephen Justice, Quality Assurance Lead — In an internal change at Playdom, Justice moves up from a quality assurance tester.
  • Gitin George, QA Test Engineer — Also joining Playdom is George, a former test engineer for e4e.


  • Seema Dookie, Scrum Master — Joining Playfish this week is Dookie, who was previously a business analyst at Rank Interactive.

PopCap Games

  • Carter Edwards, Finance Department Intern — Marking a single hire for PopCap Games, Edwards was most recently a lead manager for Eastside Boat Manager.


  • Dave Westin, SVP & General Manager — As part of its U.S. expansion, SponsorPay brings on Dave Westin as its new SVP and general manager. Before SponsorPay, Westin was VP of sales at Gambit and later SupersonicAds.
  • Maria Virginia Baptista, Operations Manager — SponsorPay makes an internal change as Baptista shifts roles from a customer services agent.
  • Jessica Eliason, Recruitment Manager — Prior to SponsoryPay, Eliason was an assistant at Hays.

We R Interactive

  • Christian Purslow, Non-Executive Independent Director — As noted prior, Christian Purslow joins the We R Interactive Board and is now in the newly created role of non-executive independent director. He was previously a managing director for Liverpool FC.

Wild Tangent

  • Brett Orlanski, Director of Business Development — In yet another major hire. Brett Orlanski joins Wild Tangent as its new director of business development. Previously, he was VP of business development at Virtual Greats.
  • Enric Pedró, Sales Coordinator, EMEA — In an internal change at Wild Tangent, Pedró moves from his prior role as consumer marketing, EMEA.


  • Jana Johnson, 3D Contract Artist — Kicking off a fairly small week of new hires for Zynga is Johnson, a former 3D contract artist for Disney Interactive Media Group.
  • Antara Sara Mahthai, Producer — Now at Zynga, Mathai was previously an assistant manager for Star TV.
  • Truman Simpson, QA Engineer — Simpson was formerly a senior quality assurance tester for Sony Computer Entertainment America.
  • Rainer Knopf, Community Support Specialist — Also joining Zynga this week is Knopf whose prior role is unknown.
  • Mauro Fiore, Senior Game Designer — Fiore was most recently a senior game designer for Rockstar Games.