原作者：Matthew Handrahan 译者：Willow Wu
InnoGames的CEO Hendrik Klindworth在Devcom发表演讲之前，他认真思考了从网页端转移到移动端的过程中，专注于少数游戏给了他们多大的帮助。
2011年的时候我去拜访了InnoGames，那时德国的游戏产业正处于蓬勃发展时期。这家位于汉堡的游戏工作室正要发布一款被众人看好的新游戏，Forge of Empires，后来也成为该工作室最成功的作品。
在那一年我还拜访了其他几家德国工作室，包括Gamigo, Bigpoint和Goodgame Studios，这时的网游市场还处于繁荣时期，他们同样也在浏览器平台收获成功，并且期盼着在未来能够收获更多。虽然并不是每个公司都能称心如意，但是InnoGames却做到了。
鉴于InnoGames热门游戏都发展得非常好，收益也是逐年稳步上升，今年，Modern Times Group把他们在InnoGames股份增加到了51%。Devcom下周将会在科隆举行，CEO Hendrik Klindworth将会详细说明公司把目标转向移动市场对于他们的成功历程有怎样的意义。
2011年的时候，你们在网页端下了很多功夫。那段时间，还有几个非常成功的本地公司也致力于这个领域：比如Bigpoint, Goodgame Studios, Gamigo。对于德国游戏产业来说，那真是一段黄金期，但是InnoGames的势头一直都很好，愈变愈强。
鉴于InnoGames的成功经历，在6年内人数翻一倍还算是比较保守了。Forge of Empires是InnoGames成功路上的功臣之一，网页版本的游戏计划在2011年发布，截止今年五月的终生收益（lifetime revenue）已经达到了2.5亿欧元。
Klindworth: 它已经在市场上有些年头了，而且还呈现增长趋势。移动版本真的是帮了我们大忙，也为Forge of Empires带来了新一波的收益。
Klindworth: 结果也证明了这么做确实有效，但是对我们来说其中包含了很多困难的工作……我们真正的突破要算是2014年Forge of Empires的手游版本。有至少三年的时间我们全公司的精力都放在了移动平台，但是并不是所有的东西在一开始就能获得完美的成果。有时候我们需要反复尝试，但这也是对我们有帮助的。
我们从经验中吸取教训，尝试新方法，2014年的平板版本的Forge of Empires成为了我们的真正突破。这是头一次，我们有了“终于啊，所有的努力都没有白费，在移动平台也能行得通。”这样的感觉。
从网页端转移到移动端，发布平板版本的Forge of Empires对InnoGames来说具有重大意义。
Ahead of his talk at Devcom, CEO Hendrik Klindworth reflects on how a focused portfolio aided the transition from browser to mobile
When I last visited InnoGames in 2011, the German industry was in a boom period. The Hamburg-based studio was just about to release a promising new title called Forge of Empires, one that went on to be its greatest success.
The other German companies I visited that year – including Gamigo, Bigpoint and Goodgame Studios – had also found success in the still robust browser market, and were looking toward a future that would bring plenty more. It didn’t work out for all of them, but it did for InnoGames.
This year, the Modern Times Group upped its stake in the company to 51%, recognition of InnoGames’ track record for sustaining hit games and growing revenue year after year. At Devcom in Cologne next week, CEO Hendrik Klindworth will detail the role the company’s transition to mobile played in that story of success.
“Not only the success,” he adds, “but also the challenges along the way.”
In 2011, you were very much focused on the browser. At that time, there were some really successful German companies in that space: Bigpoint, Goodgame Studios, Gamigo; it was a vibrant period for the German games industry, but InnoGames is the one that has really gone from strength to strength.
Klindworth: In 2011, it was a time when it really seemed like there was unlimited growth. Growth was very easy still, but 2011 was also the time when it started to get much more competitive. User acquisition went through the roof, markets got more challenging, but this was a time when – especially on a relative level – things for InnoGames were getting better and better.
The harder the market got, the better it worked for us. Really making sure we had good analytics in place, good marketing, and also being efficient in all of our activities when we scaled a game. It worked very well for us when the market was getting hotter and more competitive.
At this time we managed to really outgrow some of our competitors. But I think one aspect that was always very important for us – and is still important – is that we didn’t want to grow too much in terms of company size, employees and people. It becomes too hard to keep a consistent culture and find the right processes when you grow too fast.
Some of your competitors took a different strategy, growing very big relatively quickly. You wanted to take a more measured approach then?
Klindworth: When things are running very well the best idea seems to be to hire more people and do more of everything, but it is especially important to stay true to your growth strategy in those times. Be careful not to over-spend, over-hire; in hindsight that was really important for us.
Also, we focused on hiring the right people. It wasn’t about the mass of people, it was really about the quality.
InnoGames launched its first browser game, Tribal Wars, in 2003 – and it’s still running today
When I visited InnoGames had around 200 people. How many are you now?
Klindworth: Around 420.
Given how successful InnoGames has been, doubling headcount in six years is fairly conservative. One of the main contributors to that success is Forge of Empires, the browser version of which was about to launch in 2011, and reached €250 million lifetime revenue in May this year.
Klindworth: It’s been on the market for a few years already, and it’s still growing. It was very helpful to have the mobile version out there, which started a new growth phase for Forge of Empires.
It’s also been a couple of years since we went full-force into mobile, and we can continue to grow player base and revenues. It’s really nice to see, and also a strength of InnoGames; that we are able to run games for many, many years. Our very first game, Tribal Wars, is 14 years old and still active.
Not every company I talked to in 2011 has been so prosperous. The temptation is to put it down to InnoGames handling the transition to mobile better than the others. Is it that simple?
Klindworth: I would say that, in the end, it worked out, but it was a lot of hard work for us… Our real breakthrough was Forge of Empires [on mobile] in 2014. There was at least three years where we had to make sure the whole company was focused on mobile, and not everything went perfectly immediately. Sometimes we had to re-try things, but that helped us.
We learned from that experience, tried a new approach, and then the real breakthrough was 2014 with the tablet version of Forge of Empires. That was the first time we thought, ‘finally, now all of the hard work pays off. Mobile really works.’
What part does browser play for InnoGames today? Will every new product be mobile from now on?
Klindworth: As a company, we still continue to grow our browser revenues, which is quite nice to see. The growth is not as big as mobile, of course, so we focus our new games on mobile-only. That’s where we see the future growth of the company, even though we continue to run our browser games.
You’re on more platforms now, but you still have quite a lean portfolio. It’s bigger than it was in 2011, but not dramatically so.
Klindworth: That’s important. There is the temptation to do many things at the same time. As a company – even as a 400-person company – you have to focus your energy on your making really great games. Then when you have a couple of successful games you can focus on making this super successful, you can develop your players there. It’s not really about a mass of games. It doesn’t help if you have 12 mediocre games.
Nowadays this is relevant for all companies. You have strong games, you invest more in these strong games, and everything gets better iteration by iteration.
The launch of Forge of Empires for tablet devices was a key moment in InnoGames’ transition from browser to mobile
Is there anything to be said for a larger portfolio, and spreading risk across more games?
Klindworth: Spreading risk also means you’re spreading your energy. Any company has a limited amount of resources, a limited amount of energy that you can use to be successful. That’s why you have to focus.
You earned €130 million revenue in 2016, 25% higher than the year before. Have there been many down years?
Klindworth: Every year until now [has been higher than the last]. It’s what we’ve achieved in the past, and it’s what we hope will follow in the future.
When you think about growing in the future, how important is global expansion? Are you looking beyond Europe and the US, to Asia and South America?
Klindworth: South America is a relevant market for us, and a growing market. But we decided against further activities in Korea. The player expectations there are quite different to what you see in the US and Europe. Different kinds of games are successful there; the local developers are very strong and really understand the market. Our focus is on Western markets, and not so much South Korea, China or Japan.
You’re now focused on the mobile market, which is widely seen as becoming more volatile all the time.
Klindworth: But with the experience we’ve gathered, we also gain the ability to predict what will happen over the next months and years to come. When we build an experience we know what’s going on behind it; we know how to do the marketing, the investments, how to grow our player base. For us, especially when a game is out there and live, it’s really a predictable part of our business.
New games? It’s always interesting to see how they work out. They’re more of a challenge.
How many new games can you release in a year and still retain the focus that has proved so valuable?
Klindworth: A few launches per year. That’s the upper limit of what we can achieve. Even two or three games is a big challenge, and we will always focus on quality.（source：gamesindustry.biz ）