Casual Connect is produced by the Casual Games Association and is the premiere event for the casual games industry with over 5,500 professionals attending Casual Connect each year. Casual Connect brings together the most talented and knowledgeable experts in the casual gaming field to further the casual games industry with the best of networking and learning.
To learn more about the people behind the scenes, visit our website at: casualgamesassociation.org.
To inquire about advertising or sponsorship email us at email@example.com. To submit a session proposal or magazine article proposal use the online submission form if you have any additional questions about the submission process email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Studio Director & Founder Joju Games
Program Advisor, Innovation Showcase
Juan heads the production at Joju Games. Joju produces online, social and multiplayer games for clients such as Atari, Addicting Games, Mindjolt/SGN, MTV Networks, Comedy Central, and Mochimedia. Juan has more than 13 years of experience developing online games. Previously, and as one of the first members of the Yahoo! Games team, Juan was the lead producer for the downloadable games area and community manager of multi player games. In the last year of his tenure at Yahoo!, Juan was the head of Yahoo! Games Studios.
Juan is a frequent speaker at industry events. He is the Director of the Innovation Showcase at Casual Connect, an editor of the IGDA Casual Games White Paper, and an Advisor of the Social Games Summit at the Games Developers Conference. Juan holds a BFA in Electronic Media from the University of Illinois.
V.P. of Business Development INTENIUM GmbH
Alla has been in the casual games industry since 2003 working on the managerial positions in business development, sales and marketing in Absolutist, the biggest casual games company in Ukraine. In 2007 she left the company after a year of being its CEO and continued her career as VP of Business Development with Germany-based INTENIUM, the leading European casual games distributor, publisher and developer. In this position she is responsible for several strategic directions of the game holding, cooperation with developers and distributors, as well as game development/producing. She holds an MA in English and Literature, and a BA in Marketing.
V.P. Business Development Arkadium
Neal Sinno brings 15 years experience in market opportunity assessment, product development, and sales management. Prior to joining Arkadium, Neal was Vice President of Business Development at Game Trust. There he managed key relationships with partners to develop network, channel, search and advertising opportunities, and was a member of the executive team responsible for the company's acquisition by Real Networks. Prior to his role at Game Trust, Neal worked at Mellon Financial Corp, where he was the Director of E‐Commerce Product Development. Within his role there, he led a global team of developers, designers and actuaries to create state of the art web‐based financial applications. A seasoned sales and e‐business product specialist, Neal has also held key leadership roles at The New York Times and Lucent Technologies. Neal sits on the board of advisors for the Casual Games Association and frequently speaks at key industry events.
Gemini Hive Inc.
David is Co-Founder and CEO of "Gemini Hive, Inc." - a boutique investment, advisory, and consulting firm focused on helping small social and social mobile game companies get started and find growth. David has been involved in video game development since 1989. In 1999 he dedicated his career to the publishing of "casual" games and pioneering ways for these games to reach new audiences. He has played a key role in the launch of RealArcade and the establishment of the casual games industry. He was also deeply involved in the rise of Oberon Media, and the launch of Xbox Live Arcade. He has a passion for online communities and social interactions in online cross-platform game services.
View David's sessions in the archives.
General Manager Slingo
Program Advisor, Production & Design
Eric Lamendola is a specialist in digital interactive entertainment. With almost 10 years of experience with one of the most successful brands in online games, Eric has been integral in brand development, deployment and licensing for every digital interactive media. Whether it is social networks, interactive communities, social games or bridging television and interactive games, Eric has had repeated success in executing distribution across multiple verticals. He has been integral in the design and development of the entertainment destination (Slingo.com), one of the most successful online communities in casual games. He also has extensive knowledge pertaining to licensing game brands to the online game space, download game space, casino slot machines and table games, lottery, mobile games, interactive television and television game shows. Being with one of the first online game portals to integrate rich media and video advertising, Eric has developed comprehensive strategies to effectively integrate and maximize online advertising. He also has experience in the design and production of over 35 web and downloadable titles including the award winning Slingo Quest™.
Jamil was the VP BD for Funzio, managing platform and partner strategy. Funzio was acquired by GREE, where he briefly performed a similar role. Jamil now contemplates the future.
Venture Partner SoftTech VC
Charles Hudson is a Venture Partner with SoftTech VC, one of the most active seed stage investors in Web 2.0 startups. He is focusing on mobile and gaming investments, and supporting SoftTech portfolio companies on business/corporate development matters. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games, a mobile games startup based in San Francisco, CA.
Prior to joining SoftTech VC and co-founding Bionic Panda Games, Charles Hudson was the VP of Business Development for Serious Business until the company was acquired by Zynga in February 2010. Prior to Serious Business, he was the Sr. Director for Business Development at Gaia Interactive, an online hangout and virtual world for teens. Prior to Gaia, Charles worked in New Business Development at Google and focused on new partnership opportunities for early-stage products in the advertising, mobile, and e-commerce markets. Prior to joining Google, he was a Product Manager for IronPort Systems, a leading provider of anti-spam hardware appliances that was acquired by Cisco Systems for $830 million in 2007.
VP Business Development Playrix Entertainment
Yuri Labintsev (aka Sean Elliot) is VP of Business Development at Playrix, a premium casual games developer and publisher with a track record of only top-quality hits like Fishdom, 4 Elements, etc. in the downloadable space and a number of up-and-coming projects on the social nets.
Sean has been with the company since its inception in 2004 and helped grow a startup into what is now a top-tier casual games developer and publisher with a diverse and extensive network of distribution partners on multiple platforms, an experienced 100+ strong in-house dev team and a number of talented external studio partners. His responsibilities include identifying new business opportunities as well as building key partnerships in publishing and distribution across multiple platforms.
He has a degree with honors in English and German languages and also completed coursework at Michigan State University where he picked up the name Sean Elliot that has been his work alias ever since.
Sr. Director – Content Management Oberon Media/I-play
Program Advisor, Indie Games
Robert has produced over 50 games over the last 10 years in the casual games industry. He's worked for large publishers such as Gamehouse and Oberon Media. He has produced licensed games, including Agatha Christie, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, and Charlaine Harris. He continues to be a dedicated servant of the games industry and has helped propel many independent developers in his role as a distribution manager and content publisher.
Program Advisor, Gamification
Margaret Wallace is an entrepreneur, gaming and media executive, with experience in creating both original IP and leveraging big brands in new ways. A recognized expert in the growing field gamification, she is CEO of Playmatics, a company dedicated to bringing rich user experiences to the Internet, in social media networks, and on a variety of connected platforms and products. She is also CEO of Shadow Government, Inc. -- a social mobile start-up which recently raised a $1 million angel investment round to create an entirely new form of social gaming based on the gamification of real countries, systems, and worldwide events. Prior to these companies, Margaret was also CEO of venture-backed Rebel Monkey and of Skunk Studios, one of the first-ever casual game companies and gaming portals.
Strategic Partner Manager, Games Facebook
Program Advisor, Social Games
Sara Brooks is a Strategic Partner Manager on the Games Partnerships team at Facebook. She works with developers of all sizes and experience developing for Facebook, from emerging to established social gaming companies. Sara is a voracious board game player and graces the top of many leader boards in the casual gaming space.
Prior to Facebook, Sara worked in the travel industry. She holds a BA in International Studies from American University.
Co-Founder & COO SuperData
Janelle has a long history as a trend researcher across a variety of consumer industries. Previously she built financial models for Deutsche Bank, and worked as an analyst for BuzzMetrics, a social media monitoring research firm, until its acquisition by Nielsen Online in 2007. She brings a decade of analytical insight and methodological expertise to SuperData. Janelle studied Statistics at NYU Stern.
VP Content Acquisition & Business Development TransGaming Inc.
Paul leads TransGaming's global content acquisition strategy and company-wide licensing and distribution businesses.
Prior to joining TransGaming, Paul led the corporate strategy team at Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG), Canada's largest lottery and gaming corporation. Prior to OLG, Paul held senior management positions at Yahoo!, Transcontinental, and the Walt Disney Company. During his tenure with Yahoo!, Paul was focused on the growth of Canadian partnerships, leading the team to establish the Rogers-Yahoo! ISP relationship visible today across Ontario.
Paul plays an active role in the University of Toronto – Rotman Business Management School, offering his time as both a program advisor and student mentor. Paul is also on the Rouge Valley Health Foundation Hospital Board and is part of several not-for-profit charity activities. Paul holds a Masters degree from Northern Colorado, and two undergraduate degrees from the University of Calgary, and University of Western Ontario.
Founder & President Gamezebo.com
Program Advisor, Production & Design
Joel Brodie is the founder of Gamezebo, a leading editorial and discovery site for casual (and not-so-casual) games on the PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Facebook, and Android. Gamezebo attracts millions of gamers monthly who come to Gamezebo to read reviews, get tips, discover new games, and find the best game deals across the most popular platforms. Previously, Joel was head of business development for Yahoo! Games, where he was responsible for building numerous products, including Yahoo! Games Downloads, Games on Demand, and Video Games. Joel graduated from University of Maryland with degrees in economics and political science.
Co-Founder & Partner Game Audio Alliance
Program Advisor, Audio & Voice in Games
Aaron M. Walz, composer and sound designer for casual, social and mobile games, graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Music from Sonoma State University. He wrote the theme song for the top-ranking Facebook adventure, Ravenwood Fair, which enjoyed 25 million plays per month at its peak, and produces audio for Shanda and Cherry Credits’ regional releases of Dragon Nest and SD Gundam Capsule Fighter. Aaron has received several awards for his work including “Best Game” at Microsoft’s Independent Games Festival and Game Tunnel’s “Best Sound.” Ravenwood Fair was also nominated for Best Audio at the GDC Online Awards.
Aaron sings and records with several projects and performs with the Golden Gate Men’s Chorus, where he serves on the Board of Directors as the Marketing Chair. Aaron strives to create music for media that stands alone as a worthy contribution to art. He runs Walz Music & Sound and is a co-founder and partner of the Game Audio Alliance, based in Seattle, WA. He is the audio speaker content adviser of the Casual Connect game conference held at Benaroya Hall each year. His biggest influences are the great Japanese game composers.
Sr. Director, Brand Strategy & Marketing Hasbro
For more than 15 years, Breslin has successfully led the development, marketing and global communications programs for some of the video game industry’s most prolific and best selling PC, console, mobile and iPhone titles. As Senior Director of Hasbro's Brand Strategy and Marketing, Breslin was responsible for developing and delivering digital strategy, product management, licensing, marketing communications and digital sales.
VP Marketing Flurry
Program Advisor, Mobile
Peter is head of marketing at Flurry, which offers analytics and marketing services that help the creators of over 70,000 mobile applications increase the size and value of their audiences on iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7.
Peter has extensive experience in casual gaming on traditional and emerging platforms. Prior to Flurry, Peter led worldwide marketing at mobile game maker, Digital Chocolate, helping establish the company as a top 10 publisher. He joined Digital Chocolate from Electronic Arts, where he managed The Sims franchise, the #1 PC game of all-time. Peter spent the first seven years of his career in consumer packaged goods marketing. He holds a BS from UC Berkeley and an MBA from the Wharton School.
VP of Game Production Funsockets
Program Advisor, Free-to-Play Design
If you've played casual games on the Internet this century, odds are decent that you've played a game that Dave Rohrl touched. After beginning his career in edutainment, Dave moved to Pogo in 2000 where he created many of Pogo's best-loved franchises, including Word Whomp and Tumble Bees. He also co-founded Pogo To Go, Pogo's downloadable game service. Dave was the founder and GM of PopCap's original San Francisco studio which created Plants vs. Zombies. Since 2000, Dave has been working in gaming at Zynga, Playdom, PopCap, and Pogo, where he has worked on popular titles like Zynga Poker, Scramble, Wild Ones, Mobsters 2, and Sorority Life. Dave now serves as VP of Game Production at FunSockets, where he oversees design and development on the company's premier game titles. Dave lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his two children and approximately 500 board games.
Program Advisor, Indie Games
Joseph is the founder of VGSmart, a company dedicated specifically to the marketing and business needs of indie game companies. Founded in 2003, VGsmart has helped clients around the globe reach their intended markets and audiences. With nearly a decade of clients under his belt Joseph has worked with everyone from small developers to mega corporations and retail publishers. Their focus is to be the one-stop shop for independent studio’s business needs, ranging from simple PR to complex strategic business development. Most of the time he can be found busy doing ‘market research’ on his clients and client’s competitors, but he’s nice enough not to charge anyone for it.
Joseph has been a past speaker at GDC in San Francisco and typically hosts the Indie Game Dinner at Casual Connect Seattle.
Founder Gaming Insiders
David has been building games since high school. He started his career as a game designer and co-founder at Iron Realms Entertainment. In 1997, Iron Realms became the world's first company to sell virtual goods in games, building a successful business model around the practice. He has since played founding roles at companies across the online, mobile and social gaming sectors.
Today, David runs Gaming Insiders, a private community for the entrepreneurs and executives who are building the new games industry. Prior to Gaming Insiders, he was the co-founder of social gaming studio Summerlight (acquired by Sojo Studios in 2011). Before starting Summerlight, David led business development at social gaming pioneer Meteor Games where he played a critical role in the creation of hit title Island Paradise.
David is a native Londoner and holds a degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University. His favorite games include Audiosurf, The Secret of Monkey Island and System Shock 2.
Managing Director Crossover Technologies
Program Advisor, General Industry
Eric Goldberg Managing Director, Crossover Technologies Program Advisor, General Industry USA
Eric is a 30-year veteran of the game, mobile, and consumer Internet industries, serving in capacities ranging from game designer to executive. Since 2002, Eric is or has been a board member of, advisor or consultant to AOL, AT&T Wireless, Centerscore, Digital Chocolate, Electronic Arts, Exponential, Gaia Online, Goldman Sachs, HipLogic, In-Fusio, Juice Wireless, Kayak (dba Blaze), Lifetime, LimeLife, Meredith, Mforma (dba Hands-On Mobile), Moloon, Namco Bandai, Oberon, Openwave, PaymentOne, PickTeams (fka GoCrossCampus), Playdom (fka YouPlus), PlaySpan, Reaxion, rmbr, RocketOn, Square Enix, StoryToys, Thumbplay, Unplugged, Vindigo, Warner Music, Wireless Generation, and three US venture capital firms. Eric was most recently the President and Co-Founder of Unplugged, for which he secured distribution with four of the five largest North American carriers. Previously, he served as President and Founder of Crossover Technologies, one of the first consumer online companies, for which he secured AOL, BMG, Discovery Channel,Intel, Microsoft, Prodigy (IBM/Sears/CBS joint venture), Random House, Sony, Time Warner, and Viacom as clients and distribution partners; and, prior to that, as President of West End Games, the adventure game company for which he published, among 40+ titles, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Star Trek, and Junta. His award-winning games include Paranoia, Tales of the Arabian Nights, The Tom Peters Business School in a Box, and MadMaze, the first online game to draw one million players. He is a three-time winner of the Origins Award for Best Role-Playing Game and a two-time winner of the Game Designers Guild Select Award. Eric is a regular speaker at the major North American games, wireless and online conferences, including CTIA, MECCA, Internet World, The Conference Board, DMW, GDC, GDC Mobile, MES, AGC, MGC, Casual Connect, LA Games Conference, and E3, and has served as a programs advisor or advisory board member for the latter seven conferences. He was previously a board member for the New York New Media Association and New York University`s Center for Advanced Digital Applications.
VP of Strategy Development Alawar Entertainment
Tatiana joined Alawar Entertainment, the leading international publisher and distributor of casual games, in 2004. In July 2010, she became VP of strategy development, responsible for the development of Alawar's strategy, analytics, market research and the flow of information between the company divisions. Prior to the appointment, she was acting as the director of marketing communications and PR, in charge of public relations, events and market analysis to promote Alawar Entertainment on the international stage. Tatiana is an advisor to the Casual Games Association (CGA). In this role, she helps to organize Casual Connect Kyiv and supports other events the association hosts. Before joining Alawar, Tatiana worked as a journalist and a TV show host. She graduated from Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University with a degree in linguistics and Novosibirsk State University with a degree in economics.
Co-Founder Boomzap Entertainment
Christopher Natsuume has been developing games for over 15 years. He has been working in the Southeast Asian region since 2004, including founding Singapore-based Boomzap Entertainment, one of the leading independent developers in the region. Boomzap has shipped 8 casual game titles, including the top ranked Jewels of Cleopatra series, using developers in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan.
Content Advisor, Casual Connect Magazine
Vice President of Games, Zynga
Jesse Janosov is Vice President of Games at Zynga based in San Francisco. As head of Zynga’s Social Casino franchise, Jesse oversees the development and operations of social casino games across web and mobile as well as strategy and execution of growing the franchise to reach new audiences.
Prior to joining Zynga, Jesse was CEO of Rivet Games, where transformed the company from its initial virtual pet concept into a full multi-platform game development and publishing business. Jesse was also VP of Product Development at Playdom, where he helped the company grow from 50 to over 500 employees by building several studios, both the monetization and QA departments, and the mobile and destination site businesses while helping to define publishing standards. Prior to Playdom, Jesse was an investment associate at Lightspeed Ventures, where he covered games, consumer internet, and enterprise infrastructure spaces. Jesse also spent nearly a decade at Microsoft working in the Home Entertainment Division, where he held leadership roles working on many hit console and PC Game titles.
Jesse earned a BSE degree in Computer Science Engineering and a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and holds an MBA from Harvard University.
Founder & Head of Special Ops for The Strategery Group
Jay is a massively parallel entrepreneur, who thrives on building successful new ventures in the gaming sector. As President of BitRaider, Jay is helping deploy a next generation streaming technology for games. As Founder and Insight Merchant with The Strategery Group a consulting group, Jay has gathered a talented team to help their clients realize their full potential. Jay has been an evangelist and brand manager in the games industry since 1994, a partner in GarageGames and creator and host of Indie Game Con `02-`05. He isa frequent speaker at GDC SF & Austin, e3, ECGC, DMW LA Games Conf., LOGIN and Casual Connect. As a start-up advisor to game entrepreneurs, he is an insight merchant focused on building strong business teams and advising on brand, business and corporate development.
Owner / Consultant Ice Station Alpha
Joe Santos is a 20+ year games industry veteran that recently ventured into consultancy work and establshed Ice Station Alpha to connect developers to publishers, new technologies, and platforms.
Prior to setting up his consultancy, Joe worked in Sales / Business Development for 4 years with Unity Technologies as the first sales focused team member. Production wise, his career started in the early 90s where he fulfilled a wide variety of creative roles, with long term stints as: Program Manager, Producer, and Game Designer - primarily working with The Walt Disney Company for both the Online and Interactive groups.
Keeping busy, Joe is authoring a book on Game Development and is serving as an Advisor with the Casual Games Association, helping with Business Development and with the Indie Programs.