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50 million players for InnoGames

By Alec Meer

Thu 12 Aug 2010 10:25am GMT / 6:25am EDT / 3:25am PDT

German MMO outfit now plans to open 100 positions and license Eastern titles

Hamburg MMO developer and publisher InnoGames now claims to have 50 million players, shared between 200 territories.

"This is really a huge success for us," said founder Hendrik Klindworth. "We put a lot of effort and passion into our games; therefore it is a big motivation that they give pleasure to so many players."

The German firm was formed in 2003 to create hobby project Tribal Wars a free to play browser game which has accrued 30 million players since launch.

In recent months, InnoGames has begun to move beyond browser titles, picking up an audience of 250,000 for its first Facebook game WestWars within a month.

Now constituting 80 employees and 75 international freelancers, the company has confirmed it intends to recruit around 100 new staff within the next year.

It is also moving into licensed games, and plans to launch localised versions of Japanese client-based MMO Arcadia Saga later this year.

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Mike Breault Game Designer/Writer, Raven Software

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The numbers you have been fed are misleading, IMO. I have been playing Tribal Wars for over 2.5 years now. Currently there are only about 228,000 "players" touted on TW's front page. But there's good reason to believe they count a single player who plays in multiple worlds (servers or instances of TW) as unique "players." I play in two TW worlds, so they count me as two players out of the 228,000. Many players are on more than one server, so the actual current numbers of players in TW now is probably more like 100,000. When I started playing TW 2.5 years ago, that "players" count on the TW front page was over 500,000, so their audience seems to have shrunk dramatically in that time.

It's remotely possible that over the years a grand total of 30M players have played the game at one point or another, but I'd be very suspicious of that number, given how they seem to tabulate their player count.

I'd also look at their employee numbers somewhat critically. The moderators on each world are, to the best of my knowledge, primarily players. They recruit players to moderate worlds they don't play in. These mods get "paid" with credits (premium points) that enable them to gain the added features that most of the rest of the game's players pay cash for. I don't *know* that innogames is counting these people among their "employees" but I suspect they are.

Maybe all "free to play" games are like this, but TW is almost unplayable without the premium benefits you get by paying every month. Players who don't pay are at a *huge* disadvantage in every aspect of gameplay versus those who do pay. It's not like you get added minor benefits by paying -- it's a huge advantage and most players feel obligated to do it (unlike in Facebook games).


Edited 2 times. Last edit by Mike Breault on 12th August 2010 6:16pm

Posted:6 years ago


Florian Schwarzer Producer, InnoGames

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Hi Mike,

you seem to be playing on The player count you see on the site is only making a statement about that domain (-> the pool you as an English speaking player can easily interact with). Check, for example, where we're currently counting a good 400k players.

As for the 100 new employees, we have 80 people working right here at the Hamburg office. I should know, I keep being bothered by the construction workers setting up new office space. The moderators ("supporters" in our internal parlance) you encountered are not counted among the freelancers, which refer to paid community managers and translators. When I joined in April, the office headcount was at 60. The only question about the company's personnel growth is how fast we'll be able to find the appropriate talent.

As for the premium features - it's a tightrope. I wouldn't call TW unplayable without PA (I never bought a single premium point and still managed to build a few villages - which were then unceremoniously crushed into a pulp by more experienced players). Still, since TW and Grepolis are highly competitive games, it is true that Premium affords you a bit of an edge. I can't really complain about that, it's what pays my rent, but you are of course right in that the baseline shouldn't become too disadvantaged. There're people working on it.

Posted:6 years ago


Mike Breault Game Designer/Writer, Raven Software

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Florian -- Thanks for the corrections. I don't ever think about whatever non-English servers there are. As for paying for premium, decent-sized accounts are unmanageable without it. It really is a lot more than a small edge, even when you just have a couple vills. You build faster, get a lot more information, see a lot farther, attack and defend much better, and so on. When you have more than about 20 vills (I have 700+), you're at a huge disadvantage. Non-premium accounts in TW truly feel crippled, in far more fundamental ways than not paying for bump-ups in Facebook games. The game mechanics work very differently when you don't pay for premium in TW.

Posted:6 years ago


Florian Schwarzer Producer, InnoGames

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You obviously have far more experience with TW than me, but at the level you're talking about - yeah, I agree.

We both know that it takes quite some time to reach 20 villages. I, and a lot of other players, won't ever reach that point. To people like us, the whole TW experience will have been free. Once you start entering the more hardcore play - yeah, it's going to get a lot harder without PA. Still, it's possible. Some of the early Grepolis servers (and remember, that game features build time acceleration, so things are a lot tougher over there) are dominated by people who don't use premium, at all. They substitute freakish timing skills, apparently.

On the non-English thing: I tended to think the same way before I started here. In free to play, that's something one has to get used to: Your major audiences will come from rather surprising places. For example, there are more than 300k Polish TW players right now. Travian famously thrives on a very active Arabian following.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Florian Schwarzer on 13th August 2010 6:49am

Posted:6 years ago


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