InnoGames scaling up for mobile gaming push

InnoGames scaling up for mobile gaming push
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

May 30th 2014 at 12:15PM

CEO Hendrik Klindworth says aggressive growth in mobile is manageable despite rising costs of marketing

Hamburg free-to-play developer InnoGames aims to hire 100 employees during 2014 as it scales up its business for a push into mobile.

The developer just opened its new headquarters, a large office in central Hamburg, housing its own gym, cafeteria and sauna, as it prepares for an influx of new hires.

And after hitting revenues of €70m in 2013, the studio is now setting eyes on the mobile gold rush.

InnoGames has already released its hit browser titles Grepolis and Tribal Wars on mobile, and has just announced cross-platform game Rising Generals for both mobile and browser – signalling its intentions to expand out from its browser gaming roots.

InnoGames CEO Hendrik Klindworth told Develop that the company is now enjoying stronger growth on mobile than it was seeing on its web titles.

“Browser still has a huge audience. But to expedite and find new opportunities for our growth it makes total sense for our games, and also our players, [to release games for mobile],” he said.

“They’re asking when can I play my game on this device? When can I play it on my tablet? When can I play it on the iPhone? It’s really a strong request from our userbase.”

To support this push into mobile games development, last year InnoGames hired 100 staff, and plans to hire another 100 this year, bringing its total headcount to 400.

Klindworth said such aggressive expansion was important so it could continue looking after its current roster of games while also adding new titles, such as the newly unveiled Rising Generals, to
its portfolio.

“We don’t launch a product and then have the team move on to another thing,” he explained. “Sometime there are even more people working on a successful game that is already live than a title in development. And if you can go for multiple platforms, of course, you also need some more people as that takes some effort.”

Klindworth is adamant, however, that the company is not growing too fast, and won’t suffer a similar fate as many companies before it, such as Zynga.

InnoGames claims to have been profitable every year since it was established in 2003, and Klindworth believes this will not change despite the rising costs of his business.

“In general, the best rule is to grow your revenues faster than the number of employees. And most of
the years we were able to do this,” he said.

“Of course, marketing costs also go up. It’s still a profitable business. But nowadays you’re not allowed to waste money. If you look back a couple of years ago you could waste a bit of money and still be extremely profitable.

“So we are not hiring people just for the sake of doing so. We have ideas for new games we want to create. We really have the energy to also work on existing games and in the area of marketing we need more people to market our games.”