Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Exclusive: News Corp. Online Gaming Head Sean Ryan to Head Facebook's Social Gaming Partnerships

Sean Ryan (pictured here), who arrived at News Corp. mid-year to set up a new online gaming unit, is moving to Facebook to head partnerships at its key gaming platform, according to sources.

Currently, Facebook does not create social games, but hosts third-party publishers of them on its king-making platform. Its most stunning success has been Zynga, maker of Farmville and CityVille.

The move seems sudden, since he just got his latest position. But sources said Ryan and execs at the Silicon Valley social networking giant had been talking about a job there before he went to News Corp.

Thus, at this point at least, Ryan’s main job will be a high-profile developer relations dude–in essence, keeping Zynga CEO Mark Pincus in line and also, presumably, happy.

Translation: Adventures in babysitting former Facebook COO and now Zynga COO Owen Van Natta!

Ryan, whose title will be director of gaming partnerships, will report to Ethan Beard, director of the Facebook Developer Network.

Facebook is clearly building out its gaming talent bench.

Ryan will work closely with Cory Ondrejka and Bruce Rogers–who joined Facebook after the acquisition of their social gaming start-up Walletin in November to head platform games engineering efforts.

Sources said that News Corp.’s efforts will now be taken over by John Welch, who came to the media giant after Ryan acquired his casual games company Making Fun.

At the time, Ryan said he was working on a platform designed to support games on Facebook, Apple’s iPhone Google’s Android mobile operating system and News Corp.-owned Myspace.

Ryan got to News Corp. a little after it acquired Irata Labs, a social gaming developer. He had the title of EVP and GM of Games at News Corp. Digital.

Ryan is well known in the gaming and monetization space. He was acting CEO of Live Journal and also CEO of Meez, a virtual world and also Listen.com.

(Full disclosure: News Corp. also owns Dow Jones, which owns this site.)

BoomTown is awaiting comment from Facebook and News Corp.

But Ryan and George Kliavkoff throw their 17th Annual “After-After” Party at the Consumers Electronics Show in Las Vegas at 11:59 PM Thursday, so come by and say congrats!


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work