Nick's Kids and Family Group forms games, virtual worlds divisions

MUMBAI: With an aim to provide the audience with innovative gaming and virtual world experiences, the kids and family group of US kids broadcaster Nickelodeon has formed new games and virtual Worlds Groups.

Dave Williams will run the games group while Kyra Reppen will lead the virtual worlds group, both under the title of senior vice president and general manager.

Both Williams and Reppen will report to Nickelodeon kids and family group executive VP digital media Steve Youngwood.

Youngwood said, "With these two dedicated teams, our new gaming and virtual world divisions will further enable us to create even more relevant content and foster innovation in the virtual world and gaming spaces."

"Dave and Kyra have built great momentum in their respective areas, and will provide more engaging experiences for our audiences in their expanded leadership roles," Youngwood added.

The Nickelodeon Kids and Family Games Group will encompass all paid and subscription gaming initiatives across all relevant platforms including: online and CD-ROM games, and handheld and console games.

It will also include the company‘s dedicated casual games sites, Shockwave and AddictingGames. Further, it will focus on the creation of games for the entire family around existing and new properties.

The company recently announced it would add 1,600 new games in 2008 to its library of 5,000 games and an investment of $100 million in the casual games space.

The virtual worlds group will manage all company virtual world initiatives for kids, tweens, teens and families, including the original youth-oriented virtual community of Neopets.

The group will focus on the innovation of the company‘s existing worlds with projects like World of Neopia (working title) and of the expansion of Nicktropolis with a premium layer. It will also develop original properties like the recently announced Monkey World.

Williams will expand the company‘s subscription game services, licensing and self-publishing businesses. He will aim at growing offerings like the educational online gaming site and Shockwave‘s established subscription services, and also develop new ones.

Williams will also work in partnership with Nickelodeon‘s consumer products division to increase the company‘s retail games business around franchises like SpongeBob SquarePants, iCarly and Shockwave‘s Carrie the Caregiver. Another area of focus for Williams will be securing new partnerships with game developers and publishers.

In addition to his new responsibilities, Williams will continue to manage Shockwave and AddictingGames thereby aiming to add more community features and new offerings to each to make them "the pre-eminent social gaming sites."

Reppen will spearhead the strategy, creative development and management of new and existing virtual worlds along with the casual multiplayer online games (MMOGs) for the company. These new virtual worlds will be based both on original concepts and existing properties.

In addition to her new responsibilities, Reppen will continue to manage Neopets. She will be responsible for evolving and innovating upon the site and will be responsible for expanding Nicktropolis.

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