Jobs digest: moves at King, Homa, Xsolla, Trailmix and Hutch as Supercell-backed Papukaya closes


Here every Monday, we’ve got the biggest moves and promotions from across the mobile games business, all in one spot.

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King: The Candy Crush maker has a new director of product management at its Stockholm studio: Mohsin ‘Mozzy’ Ahmed. He joins from Rovio where he most recently served as executive producer of webshop RedsClub. Ahmed was also previously exec producer of new games at the Angry Birds maker, and has previously worked at Glu, MegaZebra, Zynga and EA.

Homa: The French firm has hired Nurçin Ehlimanoğlu as creative performance manager. She joins from Rollic, where she was growth manager.

Xsolla: The payments and webshop firm has appointed Svante Westerberg as its new head of Xsolla Pay. He joins after a stint as a consultant and prior roles at fintech firms Pagos Solutions, PayPal and Braintree.

King’s Ahmed, Homa’s Ehlimanoğlu, Xsolla’s Westerberg, Trailmix’s Chernyshova and Ewa Chrusciel.

Trailmix: The Supercell-backed studio has hired Regina Chernyshova as senior game artist and Ewa Chrusciel as senior UI/UX designer. Chernyshova moves to Trailmix from Supersolid, where she was senior artist. She has also previously worked at Playrix as community lead artist and 2D artist. Chrusciel moves to Trailmix after stints at Wooga, Huuuge Games, Magmatic and Fein.

Hutch: Former Peak product analyst Mehmet Taner Demir has joined the racing specialist as games analyst on the F1 Clash team. Eva Grammatea has also joined as management accountant.

Play Studios: The social casino game-maker and Tetris publisher has appointed Ron Finkelstein as product director on My Vegas. He moves from Wildlife Studios, where he was product director on battle royale game Zooba. Finkelstein also previously worked at Playtika, most recently as director of product on Merge Stories.

Hutch’s Demir and Grammatea, Play Studios’ Finkelstein, UKIE’s Poole, Rune’s Adıyaman.

UKIE: The UK games industry trade body has appointed Nick Poole as its new CEO. He moves over from his role at CEO of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and replaces Jo Twist, who left to take up a role as CEO of music industry group the BPI. Poole will start on April 1 2024, and head of commercial and membership Sam Collins and strategic project lead Dan Wood continue to act as co-CEOs in the interim.

Rune Games: The Turkish game-maker has appointed former Ata Uğur Adıyaman as its new chief product officer. He joins from Tiplay, where he was VP of gaming and has previously worked at Masomo, Lokum Games and Game Cafe Services.

Supercell: As we reported last week, Sara Bach is Supercell’s new head of live games, and joins the Clash of Clans maker from Mojang. She has been working in games for over 17 years and brings with her experience from working at Dice on Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront, a spell at King as senior studio director and later head of games at Minecraft maker Mojang. Fernanda Romano is Supercell’s new chief marketing officer, and joins the firm after serving as King’s SVP and chief marketing officer. She has also worked as CMO at Alpargatas, the parent company of flip-flop brand Havaianas.

Papukaya’s Hollanda, Mäkinen, Foss, Saara, Heino and Aapa.

Papukaya: The Supercell-backed mobile game studio is closing, according to a LinkedIn post by CEO Drusilla Hollanda, who paid tribute to core team members Collin Foss, Saara Mäkinen, Venla Heino and Samu Aapa for coming along for the ride. The studio was founded in 2020 and intended to make games for people who don’t usually play games.

“In 3 years, we’ve output 12+ prototypes, 7 projects and 2 live releases. I’m proud of our boldness to try different ideas and put them in the hands of players as quickly as possible,” said Hollanda on LinkedIn.

“However, making games is hard. And making games without blueprints, with a more experimental approach, proved to be extremely difficult. Especially for a market that has become more and more challenging to newcomers and where UA has become a whole other game to crack on top of the actual game.”

“As I started to understand the nature of the beast, I had to ask myself bigger questions: “Is the F2P space really the most conducive to what we set out to do?”, “Am I even the right leader to set us up for success in this context?”

“It was tempting to ignore these thoughts and keep pushing forward with blind optimism, but I ultimately reached the conclusion that the wisest decision for the company is to pull the brakes and recalibrate.”

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