Matt Hulett, the Seattle startup vet who overhauled RealNetworks’ GameHouse games division, is leaving the company to accept an unspecified “executive opportunity out of state,” according to a regulatory filing this morning. Hulett, the former AdXpose (Mpire) CEO and Expedia Corporate Travel president, isn’t yet saying publicly what he plans to do.
Hulett led GameHouse, formerly RealGames, as the company shifted from downloadable casual games to the new world of social and free-to-play games — going up against stiff competition from some of the giants of the industry. Most recently GameHouse launched a new GameHouse Casino on Facebook and iOS.
In a post on his Startup Whisperer blog, Hulett says he enjoyed “a fantastic 2+ years restarting the gaming business” for the Seattle company.
He writes, “My goal was to transform the business from a traditional casual download business into a free-to-play/freemium business. GameHouse has two very strong strategies in the online social casino space as well as being a cross-platform distributor of premium casual games. The business has a well-capitalized strategy, strong growth, and a unique culture that values integrity, passion, and fun.”
The RealNetworks games division last year posted a 31 percent decline in revenue, to $30.8 million in 2012, with an operating loss of $4.4 million. At one point, years ago, the company had taken steps to spin out the games division, but those plans were put on hold during the economic downturn.
Hulett concludes the post with a quote from the popular children’s franchise Nanny McPhee, “There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. It’s rather sad, really, but there it is.”
RealNetworks is currently being run by founder Rob Glaser in the position of interim CEO. No word yet from the company on plans to replace Hulett as senior vice president of the games division. We’ve also contacted Hulett for more information on his future plans.
Update: Hulett says his last day at RealNetworks is May 1, and details about his new position will come out after that.
RealNetworks says it’s actively seeking a replacement for Hulett. His direct reports will report to Glaser in the meantime.
[Editor's Note: Matt Hulett is a GeekWire member, receiving GeekWire event access and other benefits via an annual subscription.]