Tuesday October 4, 2011 : Is former Zynga manager hiring a sign of the times?
 
Industry observers are pondering whether the latest hiring at Shufflemaster, that of former Zynga social gaming expert Louis Castle, is a sign of deepening interest in internet gaming and the social networking scene.
 
The online technology and gaming expert was formerly Zynga's vice president of studios, responsible for the interaction between social gaming and technology.
 
Prior to his engagement with Zynga he co-founded Westwood Studios, an entertainment software company that created the Command and Conquer video game series and was purchased by Electronic Arts in 1998, taking Castle on board for the following 11 years.
 
After EA, Castle joined Instant Action, a browser-based games company, as its CEO.
 
Castle is no stranger to Shufflemaster, having served on its board of directors for the last six years, most recently as chairman of the Audit Committee.
 
In his new role at Shufflemaster, Castle will steer the company’s strategic and technological growth initiatives as chief strategy officer on the senior management team. He will manage innovation, exploiting i-gaming and technology opportunities, and leading research and development for all product lines. He will report directly to Shuffle Master’s chief executive, Gavin Isaacs.
 
“In this newly created position, Lou will guide and seek to accelerate our innovation to boost future growth, and he will focus on driving value throughout the organization through thought leadership and strategic business development," Isaacs said. "I believe his impact will be felt in every aspect of our business as we continue to grow our footprint internationally and within compelling new verticals, like the i-gaming space.”
 
“It’s an incredibly exciting time for Shuffle Master, with new technology opening the doors for vibrant opportunities and changing the way the gaming industry evolves,” said Castle. “With its vast portfolio of intellectual property and world-renowned brands, Shuffle Master has tremendous opportunities for global growth.”
 
Shufflemaster's newly formed Interactive division is currently exhibiting at the G2E expo, showcasing internet-designed, free-to-play online poker games in what has been interpreted as preparation for the advent of legalised online poker in the United States