Bigpoint 'happy to fail' in mobile return

Bigpoint 'happy to fail' in mobile return
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

September 4th 2014 at 10:00AM

CEO says firm will keep iterating until it has mobile games it can be proud of

Online gaming giant Bigpoint says it is “happy to fail as much as it takes” as it prepares to return to the mobile space.

The company recently announced it would once again attempt to establish a foothold in the hotly-contested smartphone and tablet market when it acquired Lyon-based Little Worlds Studio. Renamed Bigpoint Lyon, the developer will now be dedicated solely to mobile games.

Bigpoint has attempted to conquer the mobile market in years past, but CEO Khaled Helioui told Develop at Gamescom that shifts in the company’s structure should give his teams a better chance than before.

“We used to be a very centralised company – big decisions came from the top,” he explained. “Now we’re hiring people who are extremely passionate about what they do, give them a framework in terms of budget and time, but then they make the decisions about what the games are going to be and how they’re going to make it.

“This gives us a lot of flexibility. We can start projects and iterate on them very quickly. We can also decide to stop them quickly too. I’m really happy to fail as much as it takes until we’re feeling really comfortable and content with the games that we have.

“We’re ready to fail a lot over the next year until we have games that we can be proud of pushing to our users.”

The firm is one of many free-to-play specialists moving more resources into the mobile space, but Helioui is keen to stress that Bigpoint will continue to serve the browser and other markets that helped establish the company’s success. In fact, Bigpoint is currently working on its first client-based game.

We’re ready to fail a lot over the next year until we have games that we can be proud of pushing to our users.

“That’s what differentiates us,” Helioui said. “A lot of CEOs from other companies ask me why we’re not moving to 100 per cent mobile, why are we still doing client games. But we’re not speaking the same language.

“My perspective is not platform-driven. I think if you come up with the best games possible, for whatever device or platform, you are bound to be successful. So when we start the development of a new game, when we have the concept or idea, we look at which audience we’re trying to target, which user interface is best suited to that game.

“I think the reality is if you provide a great experience to gamers on tablets, the market is so massive right now that you can do extremely well.”

Heliouli also says it’s a mistake to address as many platforms as possible: “What eventually happens is that the game is great on none of them. It’s not optimised for any of the platforms, and right now you cannot afford to compromise or settle on quality.”

Following the acquisition of the Lyon studio, Bigpoint is currently on a recruitment drive for new designers, developers and artists to join the France-based team. Heliouli says the plan is to scale the studio, but not reach too big a headcount.

Meanwhile, Bigpoint’s Hamburg studio has also been working on several prototypes and concepts for mobile games. The firm plans to release three to four titles for smartphones and tablets in 2015.