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Game design pioneer Louis Castle has joined GreenPark Sports as the company’s chief product officer.
GreenPark Sports aims to build a bridge between sport and play and focus on creating a social community for sports and sports fans. It’s an unusual position for Castle, who has 39 years of experience making triple-A games. However, in an interview, he said he was excited about the opportunity to try new things.
“It’s really about having a social space where we can connect fans, with the teams, and also with products and partners that fans may want to explore,” said Castle. “I’m really impressed with how far the team has come in such a short time.”
In January, the Los Angeles company announced that it was opening early access to a free social community for fans of Riot Games’ League of Legends game. GreenPark also creates mini-games on its website for fans who create mobile games and social experiences that are geared towards engagement.
GreenPark Sports also signed a multi-year global partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) to showcase official NBA player gear and more in-game. GreenPark Sports offers live social experiences where fans can explore the LCS (League of Legends Championship Series) land and take part in in-app competitions. These include LCS watch parties, LCS game prediction fights, and dance fights with avatars.
Castle said the Clock Party for League of Legends tournaments is a popular feature for GreenPark as it gives fans the opportunity to share an online viewing experience with other fans.
“I like the idea that this is the central room,” said Castle. “When it comes to ideas for games, we have tons of ideas for activities. I think of them as mini-games or even micro-games. It’s a place where you can really practice your knowledge. We have other things like a dance that’s just for fun. “
Life on Amazon
Photo credit: GreenPark Sports
Castle was most recently in the games department at Amazon, which launched the unfortunate Crucible last year. This game debuted without a large-scale beta test and came out in the middle of the pandemic at the same time that Riot Games launched Valorant. It took Amazon five years to make Crucilble and Castle joined in 2017 after work had already started. Until March, he ran Amazon’s Relentless Studios in Seattle.
Castle left after the game ended, and Bloomberg wrote a story about Amazon’s struggles to make games, despite high-profile leaders like Castle. But Castle said in our interview that he is proud of the team’s work and believes Amazon has gathered some amazing talent to make games.
“I love the company (Amazon), the culture there is amazing,” said Castle. “And I will forever be grateful for the opportunity there. I have been advising GreenPark for several years. And the opportunity has finally reached a point where it really rocks and rolls. And it’s a good opportunity for me to step in and help us achieve the vision. “
He said he had no criticism of Amazon, left on good terms and was looking forward to the games that come out.
A long career
Photo credit: GreenPark Sports
In addition to Amazon, Castle also worked at Kixeye, where he led the development of War Commander: Rogue Assault, a mobile strategy game that debuted in 2016. This made Kixeye an acquisition target, and in 2019 Stillfront did so for $ 90 million.
Castle began his career in 1982. In 1985 he co-founded Westwood Studios in Las Vegas with Brett Sperry. The company has developed more than 100 games, including the best-selling Command & Conquer, Steven Spielberg’s Boom Blox, and original licensed games for The Lord of the Rings. I was a huge fan of Westwood’s Dune II, the first major hit in real-time strategy. Electronic Arts acquired Westwood Studios in 1998 and the publisher closed them in 2003.
Castle continued to work at Instant Action, Zynga, and Shuffle Master. Castle has received dozens of industry and technology, arts and management awards. He received a BAFTA award for Boom Blox and is the second person in the computer game industry to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Game Developer Associations (1999). He received the Industry Icon Award at The Game Awards.
Castle said he sees GreenPark Sports as the future of fandom.
Photo credit: GreenPark Sports
“I’m working closely with the CEO to make sure we deliver on the vision of a game or app that is fan-centric,” said Castle. “GreenPark is basically a virtual place where fans can express their fandom and immediately become part of a community. So think of it like a virtual sports bar. We actually added a lot of meta-activities that you can use to express how much you are a fan. We have a predictive model. And they are the ones who predict the outcomes of the next games, lots of gear and stuff with tons of partners. “
Ken Martin, CEO of GreenPark Sports, met Castle two years ago and brought him on board as a consultant. Martin, speaking at our GamesBeat Summit 2021 conference on April 28-29, said in a statement that Castle’s advice is invaluable and he looks forward to bringing Castle on board all day.
“This really is more of a social platform with activities to celebrate your knowledge as a fan,” said Castle.
GreenPark Sports was founded in 2018 by Martin, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley and Zappos co-founder Nick Swinmurn. GreenPark has raised $ 22.5 million and employs 70 people.
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