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Find GameDuell in Amsterdam at Casual Connect Europe 2014

February 6, 2014 — by Catherine Quinton

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Casual Connect is happy to welcome GameDuell as a sponsor for Casual Connect Europe in Amsterdam, February 11-13. Over the last several years, GameDuell has focused on creating entertaining and enjoyable mobile and Facebook games. The team develops native apps for both iOS and Android with what they consider will be the future web standard, HTML5. A specially programmed back-end game server synchronizes all game-related data to offer their apps seamlessly across all platforms. GameDuell currently has both completely new titles and cross-platform adaptations of their most successful titles in beta testing. They expect to release these during the first quarter of 2014. A mobile version of the GameDuell website will also be launched in the near future.

GameDuell
GameDuell can be found at Stand 402 in the conference center “Beurs van Berlage” during the conference.

GameDuell co-founder and Creative Director, Michael Kalkowski will be speaking at the conference on February 11th at 10:30 am. Titled “Team Cultures for Success”, this session will discuss what factors in team cultures drive excellence and innovation in some of the world’s best technology companies. GameDuell can also be found at Stand 402 in the conference center “Beurs van Berlage” during the conference, where they will be offering insight into their projects in process. Their emphasis is on presenting their current mobile and cross-platform projects. They will also be demonstrating beta versions of impending iOS, Facebook, and HTML5 games for the first time.

Kai Bolik, CEO of GameDuell, states, “With our participation as a sponsor of Casual Connect, we are underlining our ambition as one of the leading casual games companies in the western markets. In Amsterdam, we are presenting beta versions of our current iOS, Facebook, and HTML5 projects, which will be released to the mobile and cross-platform market in 2014.”

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GameDuell will be presenting beta versions of their current iOS, Facebook, and HTML5 projects in Amsterdam.

GameDuell, a Berlin based company, is one of the largest cross-platform game communities in the world; with over 80 million users across all platforms, it is one of the leading casual and mobile games providers in the western market. The company offers a broad portfolio of over 70 casual online games and is expanding strongly across different platforms. Its games are offered on its game and matchmaking site, www.GameDuell.com, and on social networks and mobile devices. More information about the company is available at http://inside.gameduell.com.

For more information about the Casual Connect Europe conference in Amsterdam, go to http://europe.casualconnect.org/.

Video Coverage

Michael Kalkowski on What Brings Out the Best in People | Casual Connect Video

May 21, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton

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Michael Kalkowski
Michael Kalkowski

Michael Kalkowski is co-founder and managing/creative director of GameDuell, one of the leading casual and social games providers in the Western markets. Michael is responsible for GameDuell’s games, website, player community and user experience; a universe of more than 80 million registered players.

As Creative Director, he spends most of his time interacting with GameDuell production teams and giving feedback on concepts. Any additional time he splits between connecting with users, benchmarking competitors and attending industry conferences like Casual Connect. As entrepreneur, he influences the overall strategy of the company while cultivating culture rich enough in energy to ensure smooth execution.

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Culture of Personalities

Intrigued by the people aspect of teams, the entrepreneur in Michael is asking questions: What brings out the best in people? What makes us happy? Why do some individuals produce world-class results while most don’t? What are the habits and “inner game” of the most successful entrepreneurs and teams?

What brings out the best in people? What makes us happy?

Michael is proud that GameDuell has attracted world-class talent and leveraged the answers he has found to maintain a positive and collaborative environment. The culture and the chemistry at GameDuell, he maintains, create smiles throughout the ranks at GameDuell — more than two hundred game enthusiasts — that trickles down to the community that plays their games.

In contrast, he dutifully admits to the challenges: finding the right ideas, getting startup capital in 2003, hiring and keeping a great team, pivoting and fine-tuning their models and becoming increasingly agile. But the greatest challenge was overcoming the “growing pains” as the company grew from the three founders in a living room to where it is at more than 200 people today. Each stage of progression had its own set of challenges. To meet them he relied on fellow entrepreneurs and mentors who worked through similar situations.

GameDuell Corporation
Just Another Day at GameDuell….

Futures

Michael tells us, “We organize regular internal and external workshops and collaborate with leading experts, especially from the technology field and open source community, who help us implement key innovations faster.” GameDuell allocates about 10 percent of its resources to researching and prototyping such new developments so that they can pivot based upon their findings.

GameDuell allocates about 10 percent of its resources to researching and prototyping such new developments so that they can pivot based upon their findings

At present, there are many interesting things happening, but Michael identifies four that he believes will have a significant impact: (1) the continuing migration of consumers toward new touch and mobile devices; (2) big data, real time analytics and predictives for performance marketing, CRM and better retention; (3) further advances in production technology, including HTML5, Unity and open GL, enabling more efficient cross-platform development; and, (4) their own high-traffic destination platform at GameDuell.com.

In five years, he sees an industry that looks quite different. He claims, “Consumers will use completely new input and output devices – think of gesture control without physical touch and Google Glass on steroids. Everything will be connected and usable for gaming. This opens up a whole new universe for game play.”

Michael emphasizes the importance of Asia in the game industry because it is the world’s largest region in terms of both players and revenue. He continues, “Many interesting innovations are coming out of the region, including titles like GungHo’s Puzzle & Dragon, so it is critical for non-Asian developers to follow what is happening here.

Video Coverage

Michael Kalkowski: The biggest risk to an initially successful start-up is becoming a victim of their own success | Casual Connect Video

February 13, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton

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Michael Kalkowski is managing director, creative director and co-founder of GameDuell, Germany’s largest gaming community with over 80 million players. “I have always been especially interested in the people aspect of business. What makes them happy?” he asks, “What motivates them? Why do some teams produce world class results while others don’t? What are the personalities of the most successful people and the attributes of successful teams? And how can working in teams bring out the best in people while creating synergies?”

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Kalkowski continues, “When we founded GameDuell, we wanted to create a culture that would attract the best talent while keeping a positive and collaborative team spirit.” Kalkowski feels his biggest success is the unconventional workplace and the great team they have developed; 200 game enthusiasts who make each other and the users smile every day.

“When we founded GameDuell, we wanted to create a culture that would attract the best talent while keeping a positive and collaborative team spirit.”

At Casual Connect Europe, Kalkowski shared his experience and those of other successful entrepreneurs as he analyzes company cultures leading to success. “I have seen many initially successful startups hit a wall after three to five years,” he explains, “They become victims of their success and fast growth.” He has also observed companies that have continued to thrive while remaining lean and unconventional. Kalkowski believes the difference lies in their underlying cultures and values; the DNA of the company.

Companies that continued to thrive while remaining lean and unconventional. Kalkowski believes the difference lies in their underlying cultures and values; the DNA of the company.
Companies that continued to thrive while remaining lean and unconventional. Kalkowski believes the difference lies in their underlying cultures and values; the DNA of the company.

GameDuell focuses the business side of the company on innovative transaction models, world class processes and sustainability. Nine months after the company was founded, it was already profitable, and it has remained so ever since, a total of nine years. They have a broad revenue distribution with many evergreen titles, proving that it is possible to do successful, long term business and grow companies sustainably.

Spreading joy through games

Kalkowski became interested in games as a teenager in the 1980s. He enjoyed playing on the Commodore 64, games such as Spy vs Spy, Boulder Dash, Summer Games, Pushover and Donkey Kong, but never thought of entering the games industry. Twenty years later, he co-founded his second internet start-up company, GameDuell. 2003 was a difficult time entrepreneurs. The new economy bubble had just burst, and social games on Facebook and mobile were only a distant possibility. Kalkowski and co-founders Boris Wasmuth and Kai Boluk loved the idea of “bringing people together to have a good time with games” as the purpose for their company. But before going forward, they did extensive user testing and comparative market research. They only proceeded after determining there was tremendous potential in combining mass market entertainment with innovative transaction models and the technology that allowed people from across the world to play together in real time.

When the team founded GameDuell they already had a user centric approach to game development, because they had learned from previous startups that this is the foundation for creating that “wow” experience for customers.
When the team founded GameDuell they already had a user centric approach to game development, because they had learned from previous startups that this is the foundation for creating that “wow” experience for customers.
“I have seen many initially successful startups hit a wall after three to five years. They become victims of their success and fast growth.”

 

When the team founded GameDuell they already had a user centric approach to game development, because they had learned from previous startups that this is the foundation for creating that “wow” experience for customers. But since then they have gone through many process and technology innovations. They shifted from traditional to agile teamwork and adopted a “lean startup” approach and data driven game design, with virtually everything tracked, split-tested and analyzed. In 2008 a major boost to their distribution and marketing resulted from connecting the games cross-platform, providing a seamless experience across GameDuell websites, Facebook and mobile devices.

UI revolution in the horizon

Over the next year, Kalkowski believes the greatest opportunities will be found in mobile, particularly tablets, and cross-platform leverage. But five years into the future, he predicts the biggest disruption yet, leaving the industry looking very different from today. People will use completely different input and output devices, with everything connected and useable for gaming, opening a whole new universe for game play.

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Game Duell Team

GameDuell Games

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