Alexander Krug, SOFTGAMES CEO, gave expert insights at Casual Connect Europe from the game industry and current trends in HTML5 gaming. At any time, any place, on any device – today´s gamers certainly know how to challenge publishers and content providers. To face this a multi-platform strategy becomes indispensable. In Fuel Your Monetization Strategy with HTML5, discover how big traffic (game) portals successfully transferred their business from desktop to mobile and how they are using HTML5 to build, grow and monetize their multi-platform audience successfully.
Alexander Krug is Founder and CEO of SOFTGAMES, the company which operates the leading HTML5 games platform with over 250 high quality, cross-platform games. As CEO, he is responsible for determining SOFTGAMES’ long term visions and goals, while also assuring an smoothly functioning, efficient organization.
A Passion for: Tackling and Evaluating New Trends
Alexander loves the exciting new challenges this job brings him every day. Tackling and evaluating new trends, even when this means being a first mover, is a huge part of his passion for his work. A year ago, HTML5 was just starting to get off the ground, and it was a challenge for him to be both CEO and Evangelist for this new platform. Fortunately, these two spheres were closely connected, and through hard work and the dedication of the team, SOFTGAMES was able to make that important breakthrough.
Within a relatively short time, and not only through hard work, but also by successfully managing drawbacks, SOFTGAMES has become the largest HTML5 games platform. Alexander says, “It is not easy to be a pioneer, especially when you believe in a young technology like we did. But every time we fell down we got up stronger. We had enough reason and enough early success to put our focus on HTML5 and we were proven right in the end. Today our casual HTML5 games cannot be differentiated from native casual or flash games. This makes our whole team extremely proud.”
As a child, Alexander thought he would become a fireman, something which seems rather distant from the work he does today. Apparently the attraction was riding in that big red truck! But it was an international school project that led to his involvement in the games industry. He created a distribution website for windows for independent game developers. His passion for games increased as he entertained his friends from school.
Traveling a Road Not Everyone Can Travel
Some years ago he read an article about five startups from around the world, their individual visions and successes, and the hard work involved in reaching for that success, as well as the drawbacks. He particularly noticed that every time they fell down, they got up stronger. And he was determined to prove that he could be equally successful. His inspiration for his indie projects stemmed from a desire to travel a road that not everyone can travel.
During his time at Yahoo! he gained valuable experience in management knowhow, something which has proven to be very valuable in his work with SOFTGAMES. Over the years he has learned communication, knowledge, experience and being open-minded to new, advanced solutions are key attributes to reaching success. He also insists, “It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fail from time to time, but learn from it and never make the same mistakes again.”
When Krug is building his team, he looks for people who are motivated and experienced, with a hands-on mentality. In return, they see him as “open-minded, visionary, communicative, and always laughing too loud.” He notes that the people in his company seem very happy with their work environment. So it is relatively easy to hire the talents he would like; people either approach the company or are recommended by those already working there. He considers the key aspects of creating this work environment are communication and always being fair.
It is very important to Alexander that all the games SOFTGAMES creates be free and accessible to everyone. So their main revenue source is in-game advertisements with a heavy focus is on video ads that are shown before a game begins.
When SOFTGAMES develops a game, they test through the entire development cycle, as well as when hitting certain milestones. So they are testing through early prototypes and Alpha and Beta versions until the game is released. Alexander insists this is the way to deliver the best quality to partners and portals.
Alexander relates that the most interesting reaction to a game they were play testing occurred with Candy Rain 2. SOFTGAMES invites students from different universities in Berlin to come to the office about once a month to play games that are soon to be released. When Candy Rain 2 was being tested there were a couple of students who were playing it in the office from noon until midnight, when the staff finally left. As he says, “That demonstrated to us that we were on the right track!”
HTML5 Will Be the Major Platform
Alexander sees three major trends coming to the games industry. First, he strongly believes that HTML5 will be the major platform for most developers of cross-platform mobile games within the next few years. The market is hungry for high quality cross-platform games and SOFTGAMES is ready to supply that need. Secondly, the Android platform has already shown impressive growth; he expects developers to gradually shift their focus to Android from the dominant iOS. Finally, an ongoing change is the shift from paid to hybrid freemium and ad-featured content as the primary method of earning money for mobile games. Fortunately SOFTGAMES’ early focus on HTML5 allowed them to build a strong active partner and user base that has positioned them well for the future. Alexander even insists, “Go HTML5 or die!”
In the evenings, when Alexander is not working, he takes long runs to stay fit and to clear his mind. He also loves traveling to exotic places to get to know other cultures. And he broadens his horizon by reading extensively.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.