Big Fish expanding into free-to-play

Big Fish expanding into free-to-play
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

November 16th 2012 at 1:20PM

Former PlayFirst exec Chris Williams joins developer as GM of F2P

Browser and casual games specialist Big Fish Games is expanding into the free-to-play business with a wave of new games and the hire of a new VP to head.

The US-based studio said it wanted to transform its free-to-play offerings from an emerging business into a “hyper growth” initiative in 2013.

The company has now begun releasing a number of free-to-play titles, with plans over the next year to offer several new F2P titles on its PC and Mac app store every month, as well as investing in products, developer partners and employees.

Big Fish’s first title to adopt the business model on PC and Mac is Big Fish Casino, with Found: A Hidden Object Adventure the company’s first venture into free-to-play on mobile.

To help its push away from premium casual titles, the studio has hired former PlayFirst VP of products and strategy Chris Williams, who has joined the developer as VP and GM of free-to-play.

Williams will be responsible for overseeing the expansion of Big Fish’s free-to-play content in mobile, PC, and Mac.

As well as serving in a number of roles at PlayFirst, Williams has also previously worked at Star Wars developer LucasArts, where held positions such as lead artist, senior producer and project lead.

"F2P games are increasingly popular with gamers who have been introduced to digital games over the past few years via the rapid growth of social and mobile platforms," said Big Fish CEO Paul Thelen.

"It is a natural extension to both our PC/Mac app store and to our mobile publishing business."

Big Fish has traditionally focused on premium catalogue games, building up a catalogue of 3,000 games and reaching 14 million monthly visitors.