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Silverbirch Refocuses on MMOs, Appoints New CEO

Silverbirch Studios (N+ for DS, PSP) promoted company director Kevin Astle as its interim president and CEO, taking over for Derek van der Plaat, who resigned today. With the appointment, the mobile and handheld games developer announced a "refocus
Changes are taking place at Silverbirch Studios(N+ for DS, PSP) -- Kevin Astle takes over today as interim president and CEO as the company increases its focus on its MMO business. Astle replaces Derek van der Plaat, who resigns as company president, CEO and director, while Silverbirch says its new "refocused strategy" will migrate its attention from mobile releases to massively multiplayer online games as well as games for PCs and consoles. The Toronto-based developer's existing game properties include Silverbirch Studios, Netherlands-based publisher Lighthouse Interactive, and a co-venture with G4Box to operate licensed English language online multiplayer games, and Silverbirch expects a "significant portion" of its future revenue to come from its games Metin2 and CrossFire. It's also in the process of acquiring Heroes Of The Pacific publisher Red Mile Entertainment in a deal expected to close in early 2009. Recently, Silverbirch entered into multiple two-year contracts with three MMO consulting companies -- A&P Entertainment, Escalada International Limited, and Morsonwell Inc. -- who will provide consulting services for online game development, marketing, and operations. The company's also implemented cost-cutting initiatives recently; it terminated six staff positions in the first phase of a restructuring plan, and says it's also considering selling off its mobile biz while reviewing its other business units. At the same time, it says it's seeking more investment opportunities in the MMO space. Last month, SilverBirch secured $500,000 in equity financing from Aberdeen Gould Capital Markets for the upcoming English-version launch of CrossFire, which has been previously released in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

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