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Two Playfish co-founders to leave EA

Wed 16 Feb 2011 8:38am GMT / 3:38am EST / 12:38am PST
PeoplePublishing

Lababidi and de Halleux retain consultancy roles, leaving Segerstale full time

Two more of Playfish's founders are to leave the company - Sebastien de Halleux, once Playfish COO, now EA Interactive vice president, and Sami Lababidi, head of Playfish development and technology.

The two executives will retain consultancy positions at the company, reports Inside Social Gaming. Another co-founder, Shukri Shammas, Playfish CFO, left the company last March. The only remaining co-founder is Kristian Segerstale, who was made Playfish general manager following the acquisition by EA in 2009.

After that acquisition, EA claimed that Playfish would largely be helping to transfer existing IP to new markets on social networks, adapting successful franchises to sites such as Facebook. Whilst that has been implemented to some success, with the FIFA and Madden brands attracting 3.3 million and 2.2 million monthly average users each, EA's presence on Facebook is still lead by bespoke social game titles such as Pet Society and Restaurant City.

Segestrale has told press that he himself believes that the best is yet to come for Facebook and social gaming, believing that the platform-defining titles which other mediums have championed are still on their way. That leap in quality, he felt, could well be encouraged by recent restrictions put in place on the viral nature of Facebook games and the way they are marketed.

"Perhaps the immediate effect of Facebook curbing some of these channels is to see the aggregate number of clicks going down a little bit but at the same time it forces much better quality product and in my mind it's a far more sustainable way of growing the market," he claimed, last year.

"What means something is whether you're able to become an indispensable part of someone's everyday life because they enjoy socialising with their friends through your product. Those are the kind of things we're trying to track more.

"The winner overall - the company that's going to be remembered for forging this market - will be the one that creates a truly inspirational product for social interaction, competition, cooperation and exchange across a lot of platforms.

"It's a green field, and creating that company that's the most loved and respected by players is really what we're after."

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