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Big Fish Games migrates to new HQ, with plans to reel in top talent with eye-catching space



Big Fish Games migrates to new HQ, with plans to reel in top talent with eye-catching space
Photo Credits: GeekWire Photo/Nat Levy
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Big Fish Games has a new headquarters to go along with its new leader.

The Seattle-based gaming company, which was acquired by Australia’s Aristocrat Technologies for $990 million earlier this year, moved into its new office in Seattle’s Pioneer Square this week. In the appropriately named Maritime building, Big Fish has leased all the office space — 187,000 square feet in total — with more than enough room to house its 633 Seattle employees plus the more than 100 open positions the company is advertising online.

The move is another sign of a new era for Big Fish. In 2014 it was acquired by Churchill Downs Inc., operator of the famous Kentucky Derby racetrack, for $885 million and sold again to Aristocrat earlier this year.

Just this month the company announced former Electronic Arts and Zynga executive Jeff Karp is joining Big Fish Games as managing director and president. He is taking the helm permanently after former CEO Paul Thelen left following the Aristocrat acquisition.

Aimee Paganini, lead senior game producer for Big Fish, has worked through all these changes. In her six years at the company she’s worked on several of Big Fish’s flagship games like Fairway Solitaire and Panda Pandamonium, and right now her latest game, Let’s Dish, is in Google’s open beta program. Paganini, who leads a team of 27 people, said not much has changed with her day-to-day operations despite the company shuffling between two parent companies in four years.

“I’m really fortunate that I have a boss and a general manager that allows our team to run as a small business,” Paganini said. “They’re the investors, so we need to make them happy.”

But the new headquarters will bring major changes for Paganini and everyone else at Big Fish. Employees felt like fishes out of water in the old HQ space at 333 Elliott West, which Big Fish steadily grew into over the years.

The company started looking for space two years ago, and at the time it surveyed employees to see what they wanted. The main gripe was lack of transit connections. The old office, which is just a few blocks down from where Expedia is setting up its Seattle HQ for a move next year, only has access to a couple of bus lines. Pioneer Square is the transit hub of the region, with hundreds of buses and a light rail line just a few blocks away, and plenty of access to restaurants and other attractions.

“We were out on a deserted island or at least peninsula on Elliott Avenue, so coming here it really opened up the ability for people to go out and experience the neighborhood,” said Evan Cottingham, director of real estate and facilities for Big Fish.

The old office was never a perfect fit for Big Fish, as the company gradually took on more and more space in the building from Gaming companies have different needs than traditional office users — testing areas, big desks to spread out multiple devices and monitors, lots of collaboration spaces for meetings — and none of that really existed in Big Fish’s old space.

For Big Fish, the new digs will help with recruiting in the competitive gaming hub of Seattle that includes tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft and others prominent gaming powerhouses such as Valve and Bungie. Before, Cottingham said its interview rooms were “windowless dungeons,” and now they look out over the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.

Nearby spaces for human testers will have multiple cameras that track eye and hand movement of users when playing.

“Everyone assumes that a game company, a tech company, is a playground, but there’s a lot of work,” Cottingham said. “I can’t fathom how much Aimee and her team does to produce a game, so I need to design for all those ideas.”

Big Fish leased the building close to two years ago in a deal brokered by Seattle real estate company Clark Fadden and has been waiting for its new HQ since. During that time, the Maritime Building has undergone a complex and unique renovation. Crews dropped three additional stories on top of the 108-year-old structure to add to the office space.






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Compliance Updates

Gammix Limited slams “outrageous and unsubstantiated” €19.7m KSA penalty



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The operator vows to fight on all fronts against the Dutch regulator’s ‘unjust’ ruling.

Gammix Limited has announced its intention to contest the “outrageous and unsubstantiated” penalty handed to them by the Netherlands Gaming Authority (KSA).

In response, Gammix stated that the record €19.7m penalty imposed is based on “falsified data, extreme inaccuracy and highly suspect mathematics”.

In the ruling the regulator said that Gammix was adjudged to have allowed online gambling access for Dutch consumers, as well as not requiring age verification upon sign-up – something the company wholeheartedly disputes.

Gammix reports that accounts used to access its sites during the investigation were created in Luxembourg, with deposits made via credit card. Gammix added that such action violates the sites’ terms and conditions, specifically the provision of false information upon sign-up.

The operator asserts that the penalty, totalling €19,679,000, has been calculated using figures from a proprietary web-traffic aggregation service and a multiplier of 240 Euros per click. Gammix believes this would show turnover that doesn’t exist.

Furthermore, Gammix strongly condemns the KSA’s “mystery shopper” style of investigation, which, the operator states, is an unjust basis for this record-breaking penalty.

Phil Pearson, Director of Gammix Limited, has vowed to “fight on all fronts until it receives an apology and retraction!.

He said: “The KSA has imposed upon our company a penalty that is both outrageous and unsubstantiated. Now that we are able to talk openly about the case, we can confirm that we are fighting on all fronts as, to us, this is an extraordinary and unnecessarily heavy-handed action from a regulator that many already regarded as unapproachable.

“When we received the first notice of a possible penalty, we reached out to them to say we have blocks in place. We also asked for any information they had that was material to the investigation, to ensure we remained in compliance with all guidelines  – a request they appeared to ignore. Our lawyers also approached the regulator, in writing, to gain more information, but again no response was forthcoming.

“We had enabled a block on Cloudflare for any Dutch IP, we have no Dutch language or direct Dutch payment methods, and categorically do not target Dutch traffic. If affiliates list any of our brands on Dutch-facing sites, we cannot be held responsible for those promotions. However, once players reached the end site, they would not be able to register an account.”

Pearson concluded: “This fine is an absolute joke, and we will contest this in every possible way, at every possible turn. We will only rest once this outrageous penalty has been rescinded and we have received the apology we deserve.”



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Latest News

MiFinity Recognised for Information Security Excellence with ISO 27001 Certification



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MiFinity, an award-winning eWallet provider, proudly announces the achievement of ISO 27001 certification, a testament to its unwavering commitment to safeguarding sensitive information.

The attainment of ISO 27001 marks a significant milestone in MiFinity’s journey, underscoring its dedication to maintaining the highest standards of information security management. Following months of rigorous assessment and preparation, the payment services company has successfully demonstrated its adherence to the internationally recognised criteria, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information across all operational domains.

The Chief Executive Officer for MiFinity, Paul Kavanagh, emphasised the significance of this achievement, stating: “Attaining ISO 27001 certification underscores MiFinity’s commitment to preserving the integrity of data and maintaining robust information security protocols across our operations. By doing so, we will further strengthen our resilience and ensure the ongoing protection of our valuable assets. I extend my sincerest congratulations to our entire team for their collective efforts in realising this significant milestone, which reflects our relentless pursuit of excellence.”

The Information Security Manager for MiFinity, Alan Ludden, commented further on this achievement, stating: “ISO 27001 certification not only validates our proactive approach to managing information security risks but also reinforces our credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of our customers, partners, merchants and stakeholders. It positions us as a reliable custodian of their confidential information, further enhancing our competitive edge in the payments market. This was a team effort and wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and collaboration from across the company.”

ISO 27001 is the internationally recognised standard for information security management. It provides a framework for organisations to establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain and continually improve an information security management system (ISMS). By implementing its best practices, organisations increase their security posture protecting them from cyber threats and enhancing data protection.

Looking ahead, MiFinity will continue to uphold the principles of ISO 27001, continuously improving its information security management system and staying abreast of emerging threats and best practices.

For more information about MiFinity and its ISO 27001 certification, please visit www. MiFinity. com.

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Latest News

French Publisher TapNation tops Financial Times FT1000 list of Europe’s Leaders in Tech Media



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TapNation, a Paris-based leading mobile app publisher has been identified in the FT1000’s ranking of fastest-growing companies in Europe. TapNation, known for its work in the mobile app and gaming space, has ranked in the Top 14 of companies according to FT1000’s data provider Statista. Among the Media and Entertainment categories, TapNation has secured the number 1 ranking among all companies across Europe.

This announcement falls on the heels of a recent announcement that TapNation was also the Top ranked company of the esteemed Les Echos “Champions de la Croissance 2024” French ranking, representing the fastest-growing businesses in France. These accolades underscore TapNation’s commitment to innovation, growth, and excellence in the competitive mobile app industry.

A Leader in Mobile App Entertainment

These two recognitions followed a 2023 year of enormous growth for TapNation, which began with their selection for the French Tech 120 program, a government program that scales up promising new start ups within France’s tech space.

Additionally, earlier in January of this year, TapNation acquired UAHero, a leading monetization and user acquisition platform, as a subsidiary to diversify their presence in the mobile market. And even more recently, TapNation announced a 15M€ fundraising before signing a partnership with the Web3 platform Immutable to deliver new Web3 functionality for their player base.

“We are immensely proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish over the last year,” says TapNation Co-founder , Hervé Montoute. “We are honored to be recognized as the Top ranked French company for business growth, and how that ranking reflects in our position within the broader European market. 2024 is on track to be our best year yet, and this distinction reflects the hard work of our teams and our dedication to excellence.”

“This distinction also supports the growth of France’s domestic game and entertainment industry, as we are deeply committed to supporting growing studios both domestically and beyond.”

As of 2024, TapNation games have surpassed over a billion downloads worldwide across multiple markets and genres.

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