November 3, 2008, 12:00 AM

RealNetworks picks Toys ‘R’ Us exec to lead games business

Digital entertainment services company RealNetworks Inc. has named John Barbour president of its games unit. Barbour has more than 20 years of experience in consumer entertainment businesses, particularly in toys and games.

Digital entertainment services company RealNetworks Inc. has named John Barbour president of its games unit. Barbour has more than 20 years of experience in consumer entertainment businesses, particularly in toys and games.

"John is an outstanding executive and we`re thrilled to be adding him to our leadership team," says Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks. "John`s sharp intellect, proven leadership skills, breadth of experience and consumer focus will serve us very well both in his new role and in his prospective future role as CEO of our stand-alone Games company."

Barbour comes to RealNetworks, No. 89 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, from Toys ‘R’ Us, No. 43. At Toys ‘R’ Us, Barbour helped build and launch Toysrus.com and served on the executive team that was involved in selling the company to Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Vornado Realty Trust.

Before joining Toys ‘R’ Us, Barbour was a senior executive at toy manufacturer Hasbro. Prior to Hasbro, Barbour was president and CEO of OddzOn, which was purchased by Hasbro in 1997.

"I am very excited to be joining Real and to be leading Real Games," says Mr. Barbour. "The Real Games Division is ideally positioned to play a leading role in this growing industry and to capitalize upon the exciting market potential."

Earlier this year, RealNetworks announced its intention to spin off its games division, and since then the company has expanded its games offerings and established new partnerships to build out the unit.

Deals include an agreement with multimedia publishing company Topics Entertainment to package and sell two of its games, “Uno Undercover” and “Little Shop - Road Trip.” Both games already are available on Real game sites RealArcade.com and GameHouse.com. The company also announced this year an agreement with Spill Group, an international games network based in The Netherlands that owns and operates 30 games portals in Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

Real also has extended some of its games beyond computers to the Nintendo Wii game console and Apple’s iPhone.

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