Big Fish is entering its 21st year of making games. With a catalog of wildly successful titles, such as EverMerge, and a strong new strategic direction, I’m honored to be at the helm of this company which is poised to accelerate in 2023.
Our mission is to make making games as much fun as playing them, which will drive our vision of player engagement that will drive us to the top 10 in casual games. Today, Big Fish is a top 20 casual game company. It is a fantastic position from which to grow. To get to top 10, we are committed to investing in the greatest creative and technical talent in our industry. We are maniacally focused on creating some of the biggest, most dinner-delayingly fun mobile casual games. Our vision is bold, and getting there will take time, but I have no doubt we are on the right path.
When I think about 2023, I think about momentum. As I told our team at a recent company Town Hall, momentum may not be something you notice right away but with the right nudge, the right amount of time, or with simple gravity it does build up speed to a point where an object is eventually moving at a blurring speed. This is how I see Big Fish.
We have had several recent nudges that I’m incredibly proud to share and I believe will help make 2023 a great year for Big Fish:
We created a new team: New Games Division.
Part of what makes Big Fish so legendary is our willingness to innovate and explore new ways to make games. Our focus is global and our ambition is high. Under Nicole Opas, our SVP of Studios, we have created two divisions focusing on new products. Jun Otsuka is leading development in Japan, while Laura Taranto is leading our efforts for Western markets with Masaki Nomura (Engineering) and Dana Dispenza (Design Director).
We plan to build our game pipeline in a combination of ways. Over the next few years, we will be partnering with external developers to build and produce great games while also setting the stage to grow internally. We’re excited about what’s to come and look forward to revealing more soon!
We have continued to add industry veterans to our leadership team.
Over just the last 6 months, we’ve been fortunate to add new talent, thought and diversity to our leadership teams.
• Ivan Fernandez - VP - Chief Technology Officer
Ivan Fernandez is Big Fish’s Chief Technology Officer and leads Central Technology at Big Fish. Ivan is a seasoned games and tech industry leader with over 17 years building services, infrastructure, connected applications, and games. He most recently led the technology departments at Square Enix and Studio Onoma. Ivan is based in Montreal and will be growing his team in Big Fish’s newest location.
• Jason Mai - VP of Creative
Jason Mai is Vice President of Creative for Studios at Big Fish. Jason brings over 20 years of casual games experience to the role, from indie card games to monster hits like Plants vs. Zombies, from startups like Gazillion to bellwethers like Electronic Arts (EA), and from tech companies like Amazon to platform publishers like Microsoft.
• Heather Harper - VP of People & Culture
Heather Harper is Vice President of People and Culture at Big Fish. Heather brings over 17 years of human resources experience and, most recently, as VP of HR at Olapex. She partnered with all levels to evolve the company from founder-owned through a PE acquisition and an IPO with a $16B valuation in less than two years while tripling revenue. Before Olaplex, Heather led HR for Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), was a VP of HR at Discovery Communications, and began her career at Disney. Heather is based in Los Angeles.
• Joshua Howard - General Manager, EverMerge
Joshua Howard is the General Manager of EverMerge, the #3 merge game in the market. Joshua has been in video games for over 20 years, leading up games as a service products at Microsoft, Crytek, Realtime Worlds and Hidden City Games, and supporting video game development teams at Riot and Scopely, and as a consultant with Mobile Game Doctor.
• Andrew Friedman - General Manager, Franchise games
Andrew Friedman is the General Manager of Franchise Games at Big Fish, which includes the hit title Gummy Drop!. Andrew is a 25-year game industry veteran who helped establish Unplugged Games, one of the first mobile games studios in North America, as well as helped DraftKings launch their RMG mobile casino division. Andrew has created and worked on multiple award-winning games including The Elder Scrolls and Wing Commander. Before joining Big Fish Games, Andrew was VP of Games at Osmo, an AR/MR mobile games studio.
Big Fish is expanding and growing in new markets
In addition to these great hires, I’m excited to formally announce that Big Fish is building a hub in Montreal! We have begun hiring in this exciting new market, have office space and will be building a hub for our teams.
In addition to our newest northern hub, Big Fish will continue to hire across the US and across the globe. Click here to view our open roles.
We recently announced that Big Fish was named a 2023 Built In Great Places To Work winner and we are honored to be highlighted and can’t wait to continue to hire folks who will positively add to our culture.
I wish you all great success in 2023 and, whether you work with us, work for us, want to work for us, play our games or just like to keep updated with what Big Fish is doing, keep in touch. We will have more to share soon!
Cheers to our 2023 momentum,
Larry Plotnick, President, Big Fish