As VR rushes to market and commercial reality, it cements its status as a game-changing technology. It has also become the most invested sector in venture capital in a long time, with close to 300 venture-backed companies. At Casual Connect Europe, Jürgen Goeldner, owner at Fidius Trust, provided a 360° view of the necessary strategies for navigating the VR market trends. Jürgen spoke of how VR is changing games and our perception of them. VR is using haptics so that when you shake someone’s hand, “it feels like you are shaking somebody’s hand. Kind of scary to some extent but it is already a reality.” This and so much more are ways that VR is taking hold in today’s market.
Jürgen Goeldner has had an amazing career in the games industry spanning almost thirty-three years. It all began in 1983 with an avid gamer who was annoyed because almost all the video games in Germany were all in English. Not one to simply accept the situation, Jürgen began translating the code and discovered friends and players loved it. The next step was offering translating code as a service and soon after a music company, Rush Records GmbH, convinced Jürgen to begin building their software department.
The Effort Is Worth It
By 1984, Jürgen had joined the foundation of Rushware GmbH, where he was active in sales and purchase of entertainment software. Only a year later Jürgen founded Softgold GmbH, which became the leading publisher and re-publisher of video games in German speaking countries as they acquired developers that included Rainbow Arts, Timewarp and Reline a.o. Softgold also became known for being the licencor for LucasArts games over a period of 13 years. There were considerable challenges establishing a new company, including overcoming the attitudes of politicians who thought video games were evil, and making a good name for the company, but Jürgen insists that although it was tough, it was also fun.
In 1991 Rushware GmbH and Softgold GmbH were consolidated with the founding of Funsoft Holdings GmbH and Jürgen continued working to expand the company through acquisitions until, by 1998, it extended into Switzerland, Austria, Spain, UK, France, Nordic countries and Netherlands and also had offices in the US and Japan. Jürgen says, “Considering that from a startup of a few people it turned into a group of eighteen companies in eleven countries, it rewarded the efforts put into it.”
Since then Jürgen has founded Mobile Scope and also worked at THQ, Eidos and Square Enix and held various board seats, including chairman of Chillingo and advisor at Prime Sense. Jürgen has also advised many companies and is currently actively involved in the VR space reminding him of the chances when he started mobile gaming in 1999.
New Challenges Need Out-Of-The-Box Thinking
After thirty-three years, Jürgen still insists that the games industry is never boring. New challenges, in technologies, platforms, business models or form of content are constantly arising and require innovative and “out-of-the-box” thinking.
Future trends in the games industry will, of course, affect funding and acquisition. Jürgen emphasizes that any new section of the industry, such as, currently, AR, VR and broadcasting, offers the potential for fast and unusual growth. Along with that comes the possibility of enormous returns for investors, so they are always looking for innovative ideas to fund. Then the big players notice the opportunities, and mergers and acquisitions take off.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.