Blockchain game developer N3twork Studios has pulled off a major coup by hiring Tinder Chief Product Officer Josh Sell to become its new Chief Operating Officer. Sell is joining N3twork Studios to help the company achieve its goal of revolutionizing the video games industry through the integration of new Web3 capabilities.
N3twork Studios is getting an experienced executive in Sell, who spent years in the video games industry prior to joining Tinder. Notably, Sell served at the developer Glu Mobile, assisting with the development of its hit Deer Hunter franchise. He also worked on the Farm Heroes franchise at King, where he served as its vice president and general manager, co-founded the Web3 gaming startup Midnight, and held the role of GM of Mobile at NCSoft.
During Sell’s time at Tinder, he helped oversee a range of new product features for the popular dating app, including the new “Explore Tab” that provides users with a new way to search for matches across the world.
Sell’s extensive expertise will come in handy for N3twork Studios, which is a Web3 gaming studio that has its roots in the traditional video games industry. The company is the developer of the hit mobile game RPG Legendary: Game of Heroes, which has racked up more than $300 million in lifetime revenue. These days, N3twork Studio is more focused on so-called “blockchain games” that incorporate NFTs and play-to-earn rewards, and Sell will be tasked with assisting in the ongoing development and rollout of new titles such as Legendary: Heroes Unchained and Triumph, which will launch globally later this year.
The addition of Sell means N3twork Studios is well placed to fulfill its mission of merging the gaming industry with Web3. The company boasts more than 80 gaming industry veterans on its books that have contributed to some of the world’s most recognizable free-to-play games, and is led by its President Matt Richetti, who previously worked at companies such as PerBlue Entertainment, Kabam, and Zynga.
Richetti welcomed Sell with open arms, describing him as a “world-class product executive” with tons of experience in both Web2 and Web3. “With Josh on board, we’ll be able to take our two upcoming titles to the next level, particularly as we move into live operations on both in 2023,” Richetti promised.
Looking at the bigger picture, Sell’s move to N3twork Studios is just the latest in a trend that has seen a number of notable Web2 names up sticks and move to the emerging Web3 industry. Last year we saw former Googler and YouTube executive Ryan Watt join the Ethereum scaling platform Polygon as its new CEO, while Pravjit Tiwana left an executive role at Amazon Web Services to take on a leading position at the crypto exchange Gemini.
Sell said he was attracted to N3twork Studios by both the company’s mission, and its talented team of developers.
“The folks I met with prior to joining were all intrinsically motivated by consumer experience,” Sell said. “Their views lined up perfectly with my own around how Web3 can drive genuine and sustained player benefit. I also got my hands on the product(s) before joining and loved them; there’s a huge opportunity for success here.”
What’s not clear is how much Sell’s move was motivated by Tinder’s recent decision to reject Web3. Last August, Tinder sprang a major surprise when it announced the sudden departure of its former CEO Renate Nyborg, shortly after the company posted lower-than-expected financial results. At the time of Nyborg’s departure, Tinder also said it would be canceling plans initiated by Nyborg to adopt cryptocurrencies and experiment with metaverse-based dating.
The decision may well have been at odds with Sell’s own beliefs about the prospects of Web3.
“Web3 fundamentally changes how gamers can take ownership of their experience, both through the freedom of open economies and through the ability to influence development,” he added in a statement. “Developers in the Web3 space have already learned a lot, and the next generation of titles will offer a deeper, more engaging experience on a level playing field to AAA games.”
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