Ins and Outs: January 2023’s industry hires roundup

Here are the highlights from the recent industry hires and moves, as published in MCV/DEVELOP’s January 2023 issue. 

HAYASHI NORIKAZU, former representative director of Applovin Japan, has now become the CEO of MetaBash Inc. He also holds advisory positions at companies ECOVIE CO, LTD, Eyespage and Appsule. Prior to all of that, he worked in marketing at Overture K.K and Yahoo! JAPAN.

B2B communications agency Raptor PR has hired MERVE LIEBELT as its senior strategic advisor. She will work directly with CEO Rana Rahman to rapidly grow the company with her data-driven mindset. In the past she has worked with Puma, Tinder, Christian Louboutin, Allianz, and IONITY, as well as other agencies.

Raptor PR has also hired JOSHUA CALLAGHAN as an account executive, doing the work alongside his degree apprenticeship in digital marketing. According to the firm, he has already taught colleagues many years his senior things they didn’t yet know about gaming, tech, and rollercoasters.

CRAIG SHERMAN has become chief narrative officer at Saber Interactive, following a decade of work there on games including the likes of Evil Dead: The Game, World War Z and NBA Playgrounds. He is now in charge of a team of eight that will provide narrative design and writing for Saber’s entire slate of games, as well as some projects by its subsidiary companies.

SHAUN NORTON has also joined Saber Interactive as head of marketing and communications, leaving his position as co-lead of PR company Sandbox Strategies. He has over 14 years of industry experience, having worked with companies like SEGA, Focus Entertainment, Telltale Games, Crytek, Raw Fury and more.

DANIELLE PARTIS has left her role as a news editor at to join the team at Xbox Wire as an editorial writer. She is also co-founder and commissioning editor at Overlode, an independent games media outlet. Back in 2020, she was one of the prestigious MCV/ DEVELOP 30 Under 30.

Over at Xsolla, they’ve just made BERKLEY EGENES their new chief marketing officer. He has previously represented companies like Kellogg’s, NASCAR, IBM, Walmart, and CVS, and hopes to further extend their reach, increase their revenue and create relationships with both gamers around the world.

RYAN EASBY left By Gamers, For Gamers shortly after the most recent Black Friday season, having “decided to forgo any corporate oversight to focus on the things he’s really passionate about”. This makes his move rather an odd one, as we’d previously heard that he was a big fan of writing up deal articles about air fryers and gun safes.

SARA HERITAGE has joined Ear to the Ground as a gaming and esports creative, where she’ll work on Sony PlayStation marketing campaigns. In the past she was a social content lead at Social Chain, where she managed GameByte, FragHero and 99 Problems.

BRETT CLAXTON recently joined Heaven Media as a creative strategist. He spent his last five years of employment over at Social Chain, and put work into their gaming brands such as GameByte and FragHero, as part of his responsibilities as head of gaming.

JAMES GARDINER has left 505 Games, and will join the Hooded Horse team as their new director of strategic partnerships. Before working at 505 Games on titles like the PC version of Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding, he was strategic partnerships manager at Paradox Interactive, where he worked on the launch of Crusader Kings III.

Communications consultancy company Five in a Boat has launched a new games-specific division called Five Play, which will be led by DIANE HUTCHINSON, the former editor of GirlGamersUK. You may also know her for her freelance video games writing for Metro Online.

Diane will be supported at Five Play by JULIA PORTELLY, who has made her way to Five in a Boat from Heaven Media. She has spent the last five years of her career working on dedicated games brands from across the games industry.

Also on the Five Play team is INDIA SPITERI, who will be responsible for social media strategy and outreach. She has also worked as a freelance creative content strategist since 2020, supporting, developing and executing campaigns for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

GEORGE OSBORN has left Ukie, the video games industry trade body. He’s just started instead as director of communications at tech policy consultancy Taso Advisory – and tweeting as regularly as ever. During his time at Ukie he served as one of the UK games industry’s biggest ambassadors, and helped it to work with the government as it decided upon crucial legislation.

LEWIS KAY will serve as the new programme support officer at Ukie. He has extensive experience in the public sector, and is also the co-founder of Esports Youth Group, which provides events and tournaments to communities in South London.

DANIELE SCHMITT-FISCHER is now at Ukie as a public affairs manager, bringing with him the experience of over four years in political advisory and consulting roles at GK Strategy and EUK Consulting.

AMEN TESFAY will be Ukie’s new policy and public affairs officer, leaving behind a role as a public affairs and communications executive at Hanbury Strategy. He did an internship at the House of Commons in 2021, following a brief stint as a tour guide for Chelsea Football Club.

YIREN YE is also joining the team at Ukie as an events intern, following undergraduate study in Canada. He brings with him an extensive knowledge of video games and their associated culture. In his time outside of work, he commentates on game tournaments and works on an indie game called The Knight has Nothing.

Lastly, EMMA WITHINGTON has joined Honest PR as a PR account manager, following three years working at Bastion. She has worked with several major studios and publishers since joining the industry in 2018, including Square Enix, 505 Games, Sumo Group, Don’t Nod, ustwo and others.

About Vince Pavey

Vince is a writer from the North-East of England who has worked on comics for The Beano and Doctor Who. He likes to play video games and eat good food. Sometimes he does both at the same time, but he probably shouldn’t.

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