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Vanguard Appoints Former Disney Online Executive as Group CEO

Former Disney Online exec Arthur Houtman will take the role of CEO at Vanguard Entertainment Group, placing him at the reins of the new company formed by Guerilla Games' original founders Martin de Ronde and Michiel Mol.
Former Disney Online exec Arthur Houtman will take the role of CEO at Vanguard Entertainment Group, placing him at the reins of the new company formed by Guerilla Games' original founders Martin de Ronde and Michiel Mol. De Ronde is the company's chief creative officer, and he and COO Guy Melis will report directly to Houtman as part of a team of executive directors. The Netherlands-based company's goal is to develop new online games for AAA platforms, and Vanguard says Houtman's online experience will help. In his time at Disney Online, Houtman worked on bringing some of the mouse's major entertainment brands to the browser-based MMO space. Previous to Disney, Houtman was VP of product development at Atari where he oversaw a number of PC and console products. "We think Arthur Houtman is exactly the right man for the job at hand," says co-founder Mol, who sits on Vanguard's board of directors. "With Vanguard's mission revolving around merging the best of online gaming with that of console gaming, Arthur's combined experience in both those markets fits our strategy perfectly and we are convinced he can execute on the strategy accordingly." Houtman's appointment comes just after the company revealed it's partnering with Electronic Arts on its first title for PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and PC, Gatling Gears, which launches in early 2011. Vanguard's Gatling Gears was announced alongside two other projects EA's Partners division is backing for digital platforms: Borne Games' The Fancy Pants Adventures and Trapdoor's Warp. "Over the past few years I've been witness to an online revolution which is yet to properly hit the world of consoles, and I can't wait to apply the experience I gained at Disney Online to the PSN and XBLA products Vanguard is developing," says Houtman. Aside from Gatling Gears, Vanguard says it plans to launch "a number of games for a variety of different formats" across next year.

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