publisher Atari said Tuesday that it hired game industry veteran and former Sony Online Entertainment exec John Hayase as SVP of product development.
Hayase will oversee all of Atari's development studios, including the publisher's Los Angeles offices, Cryptic Studios and Eden Games. He'll report directly to Atari CEO Jeff Lapin.
The new SVP has a number of upcoming games to manage, including Test Drive Unlimited 2
, The UnderGarden
and Blade Kitten
Hayase, whose LinkedIn business profile notes that he joined the publisher in August this year, comes to Atari as the company continues to try to focus more efforts towards online models, as opposed to packaged retail games. Lapin said that while the publisher is working on increasing online activity, Atari is "maintaining a focus on retail."
Most recently he was executive director of development and studio head at Sony Online Entertainment, managing MMOs including EverQuest, EverQuest II
and Free Realms
, as well as downloadable games for PlayStation Network.
He has also worked with Electronic Arts, financial services company PricewaterhouseCoopers and aircraft maker Boeing.
"His strong background leading development teams to produce free-to-play MMOs, digital and retail console products with some of the industry’s most respected publishers, will serve Atari well as we move forward," Lapin said in a statement.
Atari has gone through a number of leadership changes in recent years -- in March 2008, former Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios head Phil Harrison joined Atari as president to lead a turnaround at the struggling company under the direction of then-Atari CEO David Gardner. Both left their positions at Atari in 2009 and were last known to be working together at a UK-based venture capital firm called London Venture Partners.
Additionally, Sony's former SingStar
producer Paulina Bozek, who joined Atari in 2008 closely behind Harrison, left the company earlier this year and recently started
the London-based social game studio Inensu.