Mobile games publisher and hypercasual specialist Kwalee will be opening its fourth international office, located in Almada, Portugal, to operate as its technology hub and led by chief technology officer Pedro Caria.
UPDATE: Caria spoke with PocketGamer.biz on why Kwalee chose Portugal to house its technology hub, and the growing recognition of the country's games industry.
PocketGamer.biz: You've certainly sold me on how pleasant Almada is, but why choose Portugal over somewhere with a firmly defined and celebrated mobile games industry?
Pedro Caria: When we started our India studio, we wanted to create a second full Kwalee office – one that mirrored what we had at the Leamington Spa headquarters as closely as possible.
This would allow us to take advantage of a large pool of talented people, the creativity from a very different culture, to cover more of the day with a different timezone and generally replicate the environment, tech, and culture from our UK office. It also unquestionably made us a more global company and therefore better reflective of our audience, which was important to us.
The move to Almada shares some of those benefits but large sections of Kwalee’s technical work are actually not directly related to game development, though they are no less essential.
We do a great deal of work and research on ad technologies, data pipelines, and automation. The initial scope of the office will have more of these roles and we will have specific projects to pursue there.
Everyone at Kwalee shares our love for games, but we don’t actually have to rely on an established games industry to fill our needed roles in Portugal. Finding people who are a strong cultural fit for our global group is of far greater importance.
Having said that, the games industry is growing in Portugal and we see lots of potential for that to continue. 10 years ago it was practically non-existent, but nowadays it’s quite common to hear of games studios opening up in Portugal. We even have some fantastic colleagues who work remotely from Portugal, and who came from other games industry roles, so we see that growth.
What are Kwalee's connections with the Portuguese mobile games industry?
Once we began our strategy of opening some of our positions to global remote work, we had the opportunity to work with some fantastic new colleagues from Portugal and they became really influential members of our team.
It confirmed to us what we already felt about Portugal’s talent pool and made us even more confident in taking this step.
Aside from this, despite having lived and worked in the UK for several years, I have always kept a close eye on developments back home when it comes to the tech and games industries. It feels great now that we have the chance to really become a part of Portugal’s games industry and to hopefully play our role in influencing it over many years.
The facility will be Kwalee's technology hub. Can you tell me more about what this will entail, and what changes this means for your offices in Bangalore, Beijing, and Leamington Spa (editor's note: one of these things is not like the other)?
As discussed, the initial roles in Almada will focus on work and research on ad technologies, data pipelines, and automation. It’s a real chance to work on some novel projects and break new ground, which is really exciting.
Just like when we opened the doors of our Bangalore and Beijing offices, our other locations will all benefit from integrating with a new culture and collaborating with talented new teammates in Portugal.
While Portugal will become the base for these projects and roles, my team will continue to be very much global and our technical and our different locations will be well and truly connected.
Plus, some of us will get a great new place to visit from time to time!
How important is establishing locations in multiple countries when Kwalee has a remote working structure?
Having remote team members all around the globe has given access to the world’s best talents and some incredible people, which we’re really grateful for. However, our offices remain hugely important for the overall culture of Kwalee, which is why we have a hybrid working model to celebrate the best of both.
Our creative and inclusive culture has been developed and enhanced by our Bangalore and Beijing offices in so many positive ways – many of them being things we couldn’t possibly have anticipated. We can’t wait to go on that journey of discovery with Portugal, too.
One thing is for certain, though: when we open a new office, we do everything in our power to make sure that it still essentially feels like Kwalee. Our different offices are by no means the same, but we’re proud that they all have that essential ‘Kwalee-ness’ to them.
Ultimately, everywhere we call home, we want to leave our mark on the industry and build a gaming legacy like we have over many years in Leamington Spa. Our goal in Portugal will be no different.
Below is our original coverage.
Caria commented: “The metropolitan area of Lisbon stood out as the ideal location for our first office in mainland Europe, thanks to its great talent pool.
“With the area’s growing reputation as a startup hub and with talented graduates coming from so many excellent technical universities in the area, I believe we have an opportunity to break new ground in tech to cement our status as the world’s best mobile games publisher. Plus, as an Almada native, I can personally vouch for how enjoyable it is to live here!”
Kwalee CEO David Darling added: “Our Portugal team will be at the heart of our technical offering as a world-leading publisher and Pedro has proven he’s the right person to lead our new location.”
Kwalee were recently awarded Best Publisher at the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Award. You can check out the full list of all 23 winners through this link.