Berlin special: A snapshot of how German online game companies are successfully going mobile
It's a cross-platform world now
But the reason isn't just because there are a lot of mobile games developers there.
These locations also have companies who can offer associated services, ranging from finance and funding to technical support, community-building, human resources, PR and marketing etc, not to mention a high quality of life for employees.
Like London, Berlin is a large European capital city, which is perhaps why it can't be classed as a cluster.
All manner of businesses and start ups operate in such cities, so games companies who are there are part of a wider commercial base, rather than being a key sector.
Nevertheless, a short trip to Berlin to see some of its companies does offer the opportunity to see how the German games industry is reacting to the rise of mobile.
Historically very strong in PC and browser gaming, companies like GameDuell are now aggressively taking their games cross-platform. We spoke to CEO Kai Bolik about the challenges and opportunities the casual web publisher's facing.
Offering a complete different sort of gaming experience, hardcore PC publisher Aeria Games is also investing heavily in mobile, as we learned from its European CEO Pascal Zuta.
Indeed, what's fascinating is that it operates its mobile games as standalone releases, so a French version for the French App Store, a German version for the German App Store, alongside a main English language version, of course.
It's an expensive approach, but one that's already demonstrating success.
Big and small
Berlin's not just about hundred-strong publishers though.
Small start-up SlipShift is going for the best of both worlds, developing casual mobile experiences alongside hardcore browser games. It's all about being open to all parts of the games industry, explains CEO Philipp Willers.
There are opportunities for service companies too.
One such is GameGenetics. It's a distribution or user acquisition channel. It works closely with the big browser and PC online publishers like Nexon, BigPoint, Wargaming.net, Gameforge, Ubisoft and Aeria.
As they start to release mobile games, it's shifting its business likewise, as CEO Alexander Piutti tells us.
And, of course, there are lots of other companies in Berlin. Maybe next time, we'll get to visit the likes of Wooga, HitFox, SponsorPay, Trademob, and Exozet.
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