Universal Puts Focus on Games Publishing

The first titles from Universal are slated to debut later this year.

Universal Brand Development has revealed plans to extend its focus on games and build an organization to self-publish its own titles.

Although its initial focus will be for self-publishing on mobile, Universal will also aim to expand to other platforms over time. The company will also continue to license its IP to complement its publishing strategy.

The first titles from the new publishing effort will launch later this year.

The company has also appointed three new executives–James Molinets, Timothy FitzRandolph and Fabian Schonholz–to drive its new business initiative.

First, Molinets has taken on the position of senior vice president of production. Prior to joining Universal, he served as vice president of games at Disney, where he was responsible for production and general management of all Disney and Pixar mobile games.

Meanwhile, FitzRandolph will serve as Universal’s vice president of creative. FitzRandolph was an early pioneer on mobile and later teamed with Molinets at Disney on the worldwide game “Where’s My Water.” With Molinets, they built Disney Mobile into a leading publishing of mobile games and oversaw the kids’ virtual world “Club Penguin.”

Finally, Schonholz has signed on as Universal’s senior vice president of technology and operations. In his new role, he will oversee the company’s cloud-based game publishing infrastructure with an emphasis on leveraging data to drive value across the gaming network.

“Games have become mainstream entertainment, reaching broad, global audiences and are quickly growing as a place consumers spend their time. As one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, we believe we must have a strong direct presence in gaming,” says Chris Heatherly, executive vice president, games and digital platforms, Universal Brand Development. “Jim, Tim, and Fabian are some of the most talented leaders in the industry and evidence of the all-star team we are building here at Universal.”

Additionally, Universal executive Bill Kispert has taken on a new position as general manager of business development and Pete Wanat has also been named vice president of production.

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