Interview

Speaker Spotlight: Critical Force CEO Veli-Pekka Piiranen delves into company growth and culture

Speaker Spotlight: Critical Force CEO Veli-Pekka Piiranen delves into company growth and culture

Veli-Pekka Piiranen is the Founder and CEO at Critical Ops developer Critical Force. 

At Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki on September 11th to 12th, he'll be discussing company culture regarding growing too fast, miscommunication and how to fix those issues.

Click here to get more info about the show and to buy your tickets.

A graduate of Oulu University,  he received a M.Sc. in Engineering. Following that he spent 18 years as a software developer and serial entrepreneur before switching to an academic career at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, where he founded the oldest game development curriculum in Finland.w

Before founding Critical Force, Veli-Pekka worked as a studio manager at Supercell North.

PocketGamer.Biz: Could you tell us a bit about your talk at this year’s Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2018?

Veli-Pekka Piiranen: My talk at this year’s Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki is about the problems our company encountered when we scaled up the company too fast and how we tackled those problems.

I will share the lessons learned and, especially, what you should do first before even starting to scale up your company.

I recommend my talk to anyone who is planning to expand or has already started expanding the company or work at a company like that.

Critical Force continues to grow. How big is the team now and why do you continue to expand?

We grew from 25 people to around 80 people in 1.5 years.

At some point, we noticed that we started to have organisational problems, especially communication problems.

Instead of coming up with new operations inside the company and recruiting new employees, we started to improve our organisation and processes.

I see that as a prerequisite for scaling up the company in the future.

How have you managed that growth with multiple offices while ensuring consistent game design goals and company culture?

Actually, we faced exactly the same mistakes as probably every fast scaling company has encountered.

The complexity of operations exceeded the capacity of the organisation. Our autonomous teams and our excellent company culture rescued us and got into solving these problems.

Managing multiple offices and ensuring consistent game design goals was not too hard for us, because the core team members at both offices in Kajaani and Seoul have been working together in the same Critical Ops -project since the beginning, before our Seoul office was established.

In 2018 do you remain confident that esports is viable on mobile?

Yes, I am 100 per cent confident that mobile esports will grow larger in the future.

We have noticed that the interest in mobile esports has grown a lot this year, thanks to Fortnite mobile and PUBG mobile.

After our very first live event in Seattle, in June this year, we have more professional and semi-professional teams as well as contact requests from potential esports partners.

What do you think have been the major trends in the mobile games industry this year?

Battle Royale games have definitely been the biggest trend in 2018. Also, the amount of “console quality” and multiplayer online mobile games has been rising this year.

I expected last year that AR games would be a big trend this year, but they haven’t taken much wind in their sails yet.

What are you looking forward to most at PGC Helsinki 2018?

I am looking forward to meeting old friends from the games industry as well as new interesting people and companies.

About Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki

In a few short days, the whole mobile gaming industry is set to descend on Helsinki for Pocket Gamer Connects. The event, which runs from September 11th to 12th, is packed full of talks, tracks, networking opportunities, and more. You can read about the full conference schedule here.

There are still tickets available for the show, and if you click this link right here you'll get all the information you need on how to buy them, and what's going to be happening in Helsinki over the two days.


Senior Editor

Craig Chapple is Senior Editor of PocketGamer.biz and InfluencerUpdate.biz. He was previously Deputy Editor at Develop and Online Editor at Nintendo of Europe.

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