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PlayFirst Hires Sims Veteran Pattnaik, Signals Social Move

Casual developer PlayFirst (Diner Dash, Chocolatier) has hired Mitali Pattnaik, previously a social gaming executive at EA, to serve as general manager as the company moves into social games.
Casual game developer PlayFirst has hired Mitali Pattnaik, previously a social gaming executive at Electronic Arts, to serve as its general manager. The San Francisco-based studio, developer of games including Diner Dash and Chocolatier, says Pattnaik will drive PlayFirst's social gaming efforts. Although PlayFirst has released games to social platforms like Facebook, it has traditionally operated mainly in the standard casual sphere of download- and portal-based games. Pattnaik's hire marks a clearer move into the emerging social gaming space. "Social platforms are a natural fit for PlayFirst," said PlayFirst CEO Mari Baker in a statement. "We have a history of publishing best-selling games for women, and can mine our catalog of great IP to bring well-known brands to the social platform. We are already seeing a large crossover factor between our traditional PC download customers and those playing on Facebook and we expect this trend to continue." As head of marketing for Electronic Arts' social games group, Pattnaik headed up the launch of The Sims 3's online virtual goods store. She has also served in marketing and management capacities at Yahoo! and Microsoft. Baker said Pattnaik's experience in online monetization will be of key importance in her new role. Information on professional networking site LinkedIn suggests Pattnaik has been working at PlayFirst since November of last year -- the same month Electronic Arts acquired social developer Playfish.

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