Modern Times Group(MTG) the gaming group, today hosted their Games Makers Day to host a variety of talks about the structure, philosophy and actions of the MTG ‘Gaming Village’. This includes Ninja Kiwi, Innogames, PlaySimple and Kongregate who were all represented in a final roundup discussion about the company’s ‘flow platform’. The Flow platform refers to their flat structured approach to working, information sharing and sharing expertise across the various studios.
For more from MTG 2022 see here, and here.
The discussion mainly centred around each speaker, from prominent positions within the studio, talking about how their work interacted with others throughout the village. As well as innovating new ways of working, CMO at MTG Christian Pern in particular pointed out how the sharing of expertise helped massively in development and that various studios would constantly reach out to speak to one another.
The Gaming Village grows
As noted by the speakers, across the MTG Gaming Village there is a push to develop and utilise new ways of working. This includes Kongregate’s move to fully-remote working, which according to CEO and CFO Markus Lipp greatly benefited the company who were previously based in San Francisco, as getting people to move out to their head office had been expensive. As a result, hiring had been difficult, whereas a fully-remote office became a lot more feasible for potential employees. Co-founder and CEO of Playsimple Siddartha Jain who was joined by fellow co-founder Preeti Reddy, noted how the cross-promotion of games had became easier throughout the Game Village ecosystem as the flow platform became more integrated.
Co-founder and CEO of Hutch Shaun Rutland, whom we also covered in his own talk earlier today, also spoke about how the four-day work week had transformed their approach to working. He noted the intensity did rise, although the ‘guilt’ of less working days wore off too, and that the additional day of rest helped to build up the energy for the return to the office on Monday. As EVP of Gaming at MTG, who hosted the discussion, Arnd Benninghoff pointed out, the effect on employee mental health was prominent too. He recalled hearing someone mention “‘You know the four day work-week really helped my marriage’” and pointed out how aspects such as the effect work has on employee relationships and life outside of work was often overlooked.
From Kiwi Ninja, of Bloons fame, Scott Walker meanwhile spoke about how they operated a more relaxed office. He talked about how their ‘Flexible Fridays’ and ‘Flexible Four O’clock’ approach had their employees try out games from both their own studio and across the ‘Village’ after four o’clock, before Friday afternoons were dedicated to skill building and general deep dives. Walker was very positive about the idea of ensuring positive working practices, and of the nature of game development in general as he said “I’m not saying it’s a noble vision, but it’s pretty cool what we do.”
Although MTG have changed parts of their market approach, including a step-back from eSports, their financials have still been growing despite the post-covid slump affecting the gaming industry. They also made their entry at #28 on our Top 50 Mobile Game Makers of 2022 list.