Interview

InnoGames eyes mobile future and global expansion after $100 million MTG deal

InnoGames eyes mobile future and global expansion after $100 million MTG deal

There will be no changes made to the management set-up at InnoGames or for employees following investment from the Modern Times Group, says studio CEO Hendrik Klindworth.

ESL owner MTG invested some $100 million this month to purchase a 35% stake in the browser and mobile games publisher, behind titles such as Grepolis and Forge of Empires. The fee could rise to $143 million if MTG decides to purchase a majority 51% stake in the company.

The deal sees the exit of private investment firm Eight Roads. The rest of the money has gone to InnoGames' founders.

No changes

Speaking to PocketGamer.biz, InnoGames CEO Hendrik Klindworth says the publisher's goals remain the same as they had before the big money deal and staff will not be affected.

He says the company will continue to “focus on high quality mobile development”, and has several new games in the pipeline.

Klindworth adds that it currently plans on developing mobile-only titles, moving away from its browser gaming roots. It will continue to maintain live operations for its existing games, however.

“MTG’s culture of empowering entrepreneurial spirit is exactly what we were looking for as we move into the next level of our story,” says Klindworth.

“My brother Eike and Michael Zillmer, our management and the rest of the team will continue to boost our future potential and performance.”

No eSports strategy

The company has boasted impressive growth throughout its history and particularly in recent years as it moved to being a multi-platform publisher.

In the last three years, it has generated annual revenue growth of more than 20%, and 2016 revenues are expected to hit €125 million euros.

Both InnoGames and MTG, publicly at least, seem set to stay the course on mobile and strategy titles, and don’t currently have plans to enter the eSports space.

InnoGames’ focus is currently on developing mobile-only titles, while keeping our high quality operations of all live games.
Hendrik Klindworth

It would seem the obvious reason for such a partnership, given MTG’s investments in the ESL and Dreamhack, but Klindworth says it’s too soon to say how its games will cross over with the rising eSports sector. But that's not to say it will never happen.

“We are always looking at how to develop our products in order to engage with our audiences,” he says.

“It’s too early to say though if any of InnoGames’ titles will have a league or an event of their own now. We are currently investigating additional opportunities our partnership with MTG can provide for the future.”

Global expansion

Klindworth adds for now InnoGames wil be leveraging MTG’s network and expertise to improve its titles and bring them to larger audiences around the world.

A focus on global expansion and mobile, rather than just pushing into eSports, seems to be a higher priority for the German games publisher for now.

"InnoGames’ focus is currently on developing mobile-only titles, while keeping our high quality operations of all live games," he says.

"Our very strong position in the free-to-play market and the insights gained in these early stages, our excellent team and MTG’s network and expertise will help us in continually improving our products and bring them and our exciting new titles to even larger audiences around the world."

MTGx CEO Arnd Benninghoff, echoes these sentiments on global expansion. He explains that the Swedish firm is looking for companies “with clear track records in IP development that have translated into high revenue growth and a healthy profitiability profile over time”, with InnoGames fulfilling that criteria.

He notes that though InnoGames aren’t developing eSports games, there are benefits to both businesses in other areas.

“What we do see in terms of synergies with our existing digital business are large cross promotional opportunities as we reach very large audiences in all our digital verticals,” says Benninghoff.


Editor

Craig Chapple is Editor of PocketGamer.biz. He has previously held roles as Deputy Editor at Develop and Online Editor at Nintendo of Europe.

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