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Wooga forms new studio, explores new spaces, new territories
Now that it's made a successful pivot to a mobile-first strategy, with 70 percent of revenue coming from its smartphone games, Wooga is looking to expand its horizons.
Today at the Game Developers Conference, German social/mobile game developer and publisher Wooga has announced the formation of a new studio at its Berlin headquarters, which CEO Jens Begemann tells Gamasutra he hopes will take the company in new directions. He describes it as "a new entity where we are now starting to look for a head of studio, who would have a lot of freedom to enter new genres that we haven't been before." The remit is making games that "were not possible before" touch devices -- "designing for mobile from the ground up," says Begemann.
"It has been a big, big change internally," says Wooga. Like many studios, the company used to settle on an idea in the prototype phase and polish it -- those days are over now. Now, Wooga isn't afraid to abandon a game mid-development: "Instead of being a catastrophe, it's about, 'Okay, good, we've stopped this. What can we learn from that?" The entire company gathers together for lessons on everything from art to design and engineering -- to find out where things went wrong and what the developers learned.
Begemann says that he gives his teams lots of autonomy to make their own decisions. "If I think in the wrong direction, we would fail, if everything would depend on a single person making decision."
"Wooga is organized in such a way we have 20 game teams in parallel," he says. "They exchange knowledge, and they talk to each other, but the decision-making is distributed... because you can't predict the future."
The game business "changes so fast," says Begemann, that "if you rely too much on a proven formula that has worked in the past, that is not a good strategy for the next years... We constantly question ourselves and change, and that's very important to me."