Why did you choose Berlin as your European headquarters? What benefits and drawbacks influenced your decision?
We’ve been in Berlin for almost five years now and it’s been an obvious choice right from the start. Berlin is a very international and creative city, there are a lot of gaming companies already here and the overall tech and internet scene is relatively strong, too. I’m happy to see that since we set up our office in Berlin, a lot of other international companies have decided to come here. For us it was important to have access to a diverse and international workforce, since we are servicing all of Europe from our office. We currently have French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Brazilian, Turkish, Egyptian, Estonian, Latvian, Belarussian, Korean and German people in our team (and I’m probably forgetting a few nationalities), which to my mind is essential for doing such a huge and diverse region as Europe, Middle-East and Africa justice.
With your main offices being in South Korea and in California, how do you organise your internal cooperation and in what ways is the infrastructure in Berlin beneficial? Where do you see room for improvement?
Our communication has gradually shifted from the U.S. to Korea, so we try to have our calls and discussions during the morning, when it’s still late afternoon in Seoul. LINE messenger is our preferred tool of communication, and that works reasonably well. We also try to automate task assignment and workflows as much as possible, and I think our EU office brought a lot of process improvements especially to localization and community management tasks. In terms of infrastructure, I have to say that a modern airport with direct flights to the West Coast and Asia really would be a massive improvement for the city.
What has the reception been like here for your community events, e.g. for Skylanders or Summoners War and what are comparatively the most common similarities? What are the strongest differences to events in other markets?
In 2018, we held the European Regional Cup for our Summoners War World Arena Championship here in Berlin at Kino International. That was a massive event for us with close to 700 guests on site and tens of thousands of viewers online. We were hesitant to go for a bigger venue, but in hindsight should have definitely picked an even bigger spot. So the community feedback is fantastic, which is why this year we are organizing meet-ups all around Europe. Our Berlin event in May had over 200 people coming out, and we look forward to similar numbers for Cologne in August. Compared to other markets, I would say French fans are a lot louder when spectating tournaments, and Koreans are a lot more used to attending gaming events.
Do you see any obstacles in the localisation of Korean games for Europe?
Every game is different. With Summoners War, we were very lucky to have an international hit that is evenly successful in the USA, Europe and Asia. For most other titles, this will probably not be the case. Korean players in particular are very special. Super competitive, super-fast in consuming content and also super-quick to move to a new title. It’s almost impossible to adapt and change a game completely depending on the market, so we just try our best: provide high-quality translation, local QA, support and community management.
With Summoners War you’re bringing Esports to the mobile market, with Talion the MMORPGs - what will your next big challenge look like?
Our focus is definitely on expanding and growing the Summoners War universe in all directions. We have partnered with Robert Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment, the creators of The Walking Dead, to create animation and comic books around our Summoners War universe. A first sample of that partnership is already on Youtube, with a lot more to come in the future, hopefully. We’re also working hard on new titles around Summoners War, although both our MMO and our strategy game will still need quite some time until they are ready for a proper reveal.
Thank you, David!