Mattel has poached a big one. Former Scopely executive and gaming industry veteran Mike DeLaet will join the El Segundo-based toy giant as its global head of digital gaming next week.
DeLaet officially joins Mattel July 25. In his new role he'll be responsible for leading Mattel’s renewed push into digital gaming (read: not hardware or physical games, most likely), including licensing the company’s beloved characters and self-publishing video games.
DeLaet’s been in the gaming industry for over two decades. He got his start managing Sprint’s gaming business long before it was folded into T-Mobile. Before working at Scopely as senior vice president of strategic partnerships, DeLaet founded Los Angeles-based indie developer Rogue Games, which last year inked a partnership to bring its games to Netflix. The streamer has its own ambitions for conquering the mobile gaming sector — and squeezing more value out of its IP — through game development. Netflix has garnered over 13 million downloads across 24 mobile titles so far, led by two “Stranger Things” games.
Mattel’s got a rich history of turning its beloved characters into video game IP. Some of its past games that came out in the early 2000s for the PC and Xbox 360 still enchant fans – look no farther than the enduring love for the “Barbie Horse Adventures” series co-published by Activision in 2003.
Mattel is betting that DeLaet’s experience growing Scopely’s mobile gaming business and helping the company become one of Los Angeles’ most valuable startups can help the iconic toy maker find a new winning formula. His relationships with other big publishers and developers like Sony, Google, Apple and Xbox don’t hurt.
“I’ve had a fantastic Scopely experience working with some of the most talented people in games, and I am so proud that I had the opportunity to help build one of the largest mobile-first game brands in the world,” DeLaet said in a LinkedIn post Thursday.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity to help Mattel grow its gaming business while touching millions of customers with the plethora of brands they have grown to love,” DeLaet added. “Mattel has also been a great partner to Scopely for many years, and I look forward to connecting all the dots between Scopely and Mattel.”
Mattel has already ported He-Man into a “Roblox” game, and under DeLaet’s leadership will seek out more partnerships that combine classic toys with newer games that are a hit with Gen Z. It’s unclear if this means we’ll get a reboot of “Secret Agent Barbie” for mobile any time soon, but fingers crossed.