Hollywood studios have a yen for all things digital these day. To that end, Warner Brothers is tapping a veteran gaming executive to help them expand into the rapidly growing business.
Greg Ballard (pictured left) has been named senior vice president, digital games at Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the company announced on Monday.
Ballard will report to Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, and Martin Tremblay, president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
The move signals Warner's intention to become a major player in the rapidly evolving world of online gaming. The company has already had tremendous success spinning its movie properties into lucrative games such as "Arkham Asylum."
“Mobile and online games are becoming a bigger part of the overall game industry,” Tremblay said in a statement. “Greg has a firm grasp on the complexities of this business from every angle and is the ideal candidate to lead our digital games efforts as we aggressively expand our presence in this growing market.”
Ballard will oversee the business and strategy aspects of the studio’s digital games business worldwide. Ballard's portfolio will include PC, console and handheld games, online only and social network games, TV-delivered games, mobile games, and streaming games.
Additionally, Ballard will have oversight of Turbine, the creator of “The Lord of the Rings Online” and other online worlds. In that capacity, Ballard will work to recruit a new general manager for Turbine.
Ballard is an old digital hand. He previously served as CEO of Transpera, a mobile video ad network and was former president and CEO of Glu Mobile, a creator of mobile games.
Ballard also has experience working at Time Warner, having previously served as CEO and COO for Warner Custom Music.
The move follows a shakeup at Disney. Over the weekend, the studio announced that it had named John Pleasants and Jimmy Pitaro as co-presidents of its interactive media group. Pitaro and Pleasants will replace Steve Wadsworth.
Of all the studios, Disney has invested the most heavily in the online world, purchasing gaming companies like Playdom and Club Penguin. It plans to integrate its Pixar and Marvel brands across those platforms.
Like Disney, Warner through its ownership of D.C. Comics, has similar, heavily branded properties that complement its digital gaming business, something Ballard will presumably tasked with further exploiting.