GDC 2014: CEO Jens Begemann also wants to expand to Asia, starting with Japan

Wooga to open experimental mobile studio

Wooga has formed a new experimental mobile studio that its CEO Jens Begemann hopes will take the social games maker to new heights.

Speaking to Gamasutra at GDC, Begemann said this new studio, which is located internally at Wooga’s Berlin HQ will be “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".

Its purpose will be to create games that “were not possible before” for touch devices, “designing for mobile from the ground up”.

The mobile social games company had a big success with Jelly Splash and Pearl’s Peril last year, and Wooga’s boss is now looking to widen the company’s games rosters from casual to mid-core games, as well as expand to new markets in Asian, namely Japan.

Begemann says the game business changes so fast 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.”

Wooga’s audience is currently 70 per cent female. Begemann hopes to that a its upcoming mid-core games turn that statistic "the other way around".

As for cracking Japan, Wooga is currently hunting for someone with business development and marketing expertise to make inroads to the notoriously insular, yet lucrative market, which has become the world’s biggest spender on mobile apps.

While the mobile social games company has plans for growth, Begemann admitted that its focus is no longer on publishing games.

"We haven’t published anything in the last few months, but we’re constantly talking to companies," he said.

"We apply the same standards to any game we publish to our own standards. The potential to be a hit is as high as it is to our internal games – that’s a pretty tough filter.”

Fortunately, for those interested in working with Wooga, he said if a game gets to soft launch but doesn’t make it past that point, “we’d give it back to the developer, and they can launch on their own. Long-term, publishing would only be successful if we’re a fair partner with the developer.”

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