Interview

Wooga CEO Jens Begemann on why personalisation will be key in 2020

Wooga CEO Jens Begemann on why personalisation will be key in 2020

As 2019 begins to fade into memory, we're taking a look back at the events that have dominated the last 12 months in mobile gaming.

As such, we've asked the industry's great and good to give us their take on the year, as well as predicting the trends that will dominate in 2020.

PocketGamer.biz: What do you think was the biggest news in 2019?

Jens Begemann: To me, there wasn’t any revolutionary news for mobile games in 2019; no big changes on the platforms, no new business models, no dramatically different devices or new technologies like virtual reality.

I actually think that is good because it allowed for developers like Wooga to solely focus on content and creating the best possible player experience for their games.

It’s similar to console games, where often the best games are released towards the end of a console cycle.

What's the thing you're most proud of during 2019?

There are two things I’m particularly proud and happy about:

The first one is obviously seeing June’s Journey being so successful. Our revenue has more than doubled in the past two years and the success of June was the main driver for this.

Pearl's Peril celebrated its sixth anniversary this year with the game continuing to thrive

Secondly, we can look back at our first year as part of the Playtika family and I think it was a good one.

We’ve learned a lot from each other already and did select integration where necessary. At the same time, we managed to not slow down the business while doing so and more importantly maintained our very unique company culture.

In 2020 it will become important to personalise both the experience and live ops to cater to the individual player.
Jens Begemann

It makes me really proud to see that employee happiness at Wooga, which we measure monthly using a feedback tool, higher than ever and way above industry benchmark.

Which mobile games have you most played/enjoyed during 2019?

I spent a lot of time playing a game that we intend to soft launch in 2020 but unfortunately, it’s still too early to share any more details.

And I have been playing Lily’s Garden a lot. It’s great to see Tactile Games having such a big hit, a decade after founding the company.

What do you think will be the biggest trends in 2020?

One big trend of 2019 has been the improvements to live ops, by providing something fresh and interesting to players every day. However, each player has their own way of playing and enjoying games.

For example, in June’s Journey some play to see what happens next in the story, others are in it for the challenge or become super strategic when decorating their island. Therefore, I believe in 2020 it will become important to personalise both the experience and live ops to cater to the individual player’s motivation and behaviour. I would call this: “personalised live ops”

If you had one New Year's Resolution for the mobile game industry, what would it be?

I would have two, if I may. Misleading ads, that show gameplay that isn’t representative of the advertised game at all, is something I would really like to see disappear.

What I would really appreciate though would be more collaboration within the industry when it comes to diversity.

There are fantastic initiatives from various groups and companies that all aim to make the games industry more diverse and inclusive and I would really like to see us all working together on this front for having a much bigger impact.

You can check out all our 2019 in Review articles here

Staff Writer

Matthew Forde is the staff writer for PocketGamer.biz and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @Forde999 talking about Smash Bros. and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.

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