Careers at Wooga
Wooga’s mission is to create high quality social games.
In 2008, Jens Begemann decided he wanted to capitalize on the growing social games sector by starting a company. He aimed to engineer its success by conducting A/B and usability testing – a data-driven approach used by software providers and retailers, but rarely used by gaming firms. He launched the venture, Wooga (short for “World of Gaming”) in January 2009 with Philipp Moeser.
The team members studied successful games and used their findings to come up with “Brain Buddies”, a “free-to-play” mobile game. Prior to launch, they carried out 12 user-test sessions. They used their new lessons to improve the game, then officially released it in July 2009. They then conducted intensive testing to keep making refinements. The effort paid off – within four months, “Brain Buddies” had six million daily active users. Its success enabled Wooga to raise $7.5 million.
Wooga was on a promising path, but shortly afterwards Facebook instituted a policy preventing social game firms from sending notifications to non-players. This change reduced the virality of “Brain Buddies”, dropping its user numbers to three million within a few months. Wooga responded to the downturn by adopting the practice of cross-linking – using existing games to advertise new releases. The team’s new goal would be engagement rather than going viral.
The strategy worked. Wooga’s next title, “Bubble Island”, was introduced in 2010 and was an instant success, soon attaining over three million monthly players. The next offering, “Monster World”, became their first title to charge for virtual goods within the game. The tactic would be imitated by other gaming companies, and became its only source of revenue. Wooga continues to use testing to enhance games that are already live. It is now one of the most popular mobile game developers.
Business model of Wooga
Wooga has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customers. The company targets its offerings at all consumers, designing its games to have mass appeal so they can draw as many demographic groups as possible.
Wooga offers two primary value propositions: performance and brand.
The company has demonstrated strong performance. It utilizes a development process called the “Hit Filter” through which it is able to predict hit games. It starts out by coming up with approximately 40 prototypes each year. Utilizing internal feedback, it determines whether to take each prototype into production, then a soft launch (a release in one or two countries for testing purposes) or a global launch. The methodology has allowed it to create at least two to three successful games a year.
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its success. It is Europe’s largest social game developer and is among the top 10 social game developers on Facebook by number of active users. More than 50 million people worldwide play its titles every month across numerous platforms. Wooga‘s hit titles include the following:
- Diamond Dash - 2.4 million daily active users and 15.5 million monthly active users
- Jelly Splash - 2.1 million daily active users and 8.4 million monthly active users
- Pearl’s Peril - 1.4 million daily active users and 4.0 million monthly active users
- Bubble Island - 0.5 million daily active users and 3.3 million monthly active users
- Monster World - 0.7 million daily active users and 3.0 million monthly active users
Wooga’s main channel is its set of game apps on mobile devices and in Facebook; it acquires customers through both. The company promotes its offerings through its website and social media pages.
Wooga’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website includes answers to frequently asked questions. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone, e-mail, and social media support.
Wooga’s business model entails developing entertaining mobile game applications for its customers.
From time to time Wooga partners with other media companies to produce mobile games. For example, in 2015 it announced a high-profile alliance with Fox Digital Entertainment to develop a new title based on the “Futurama” animated television program.
Wooga’s main resource is its staff of game developers and engineers, who evaluate around 40 prototypes on an annual basis and narrows them down to a few titles for launch. The company also depends on marketing employees and customer service staff. As a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising millions from four investors in three rounds as of May 2011.
Wooga has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is likely research and development expenses, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of marketing and transaction expenses, also fixed costs.
Wooga has one revenue stream: the prices it charges for virtual goods within its games on mobile apps and in Facebook. Approximately 3% of its users pay for goods such as magic wands. Pricing information is not available. The company does not make money from advertising.
info: Jens earned a Diploma of Business from University of Applied Sciences, Berlin. He previously served as the Chief Product Officer of Jamba (aka Jamster), a mobile entertainment firm. His main responsibility is to support and guide Wooga‘s game teams.
info: Philipp earned a Diploma of Industrial Engineering at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He previously served as Director of Product Development at Rocket Internet AG and Director of Product Management at Jamba.
info: Jan earned a degree in Business Administration. He previously worked at many firms in the startup and finance space, and is an active angel investor. He heads several teams at Wooga, including Marketing, Localization, and Business Development.
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