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Bigpoint's Nils-Holger Henning

The CCO on Brazil, Battlestar and stereoscopic 3D in browsers

The furore about a possible takeover of Bigpoint, which peaked in the middle of last year, has now died down - but the company has been as busy as ever. With expansion to new markets, new technologies, new platforms and new, key franchise title launches, the Hamburg-based online publisher continues to evolve.

Here, CCO Nils-Holger Henning updates us on the business landscape, details the South American push, discusses the open beta of Battlestar Galactica and explains why the company is dabbling in stereoscopic 3D browser games.

GamesIndustry.biz So how's business? The traditional market has a strong emphasis around Christmas, but I guess that's not really the case for online games companies like Bigpoint?
Nils-Holger Henning

In general we see a spike - not around Christmas as such, but around the colder season of the year, probably because we're spending more time in front of the computer and not too much time outside in the park or garden. And that's one of the reasons why we're developing our games cross-platform right now, so you can take the game with you on your mobile phone.

GamesIndustry.biz How are the numbers? Is the company still experiencing growth?
Nils-Holger Henning

Pretty much since the beginning of Bigpoint we've been nearly doubling our numbers each year, and the same happened in 2010 - so we're very happy with the results. That's in terms of penetration, reach and new markets.

In December we opened up a new office in Brazil, in Sao Paulo, and that's the next step in the company's expansion - following on from San Francisco. So everything's going ahead at full speed.

We have a time plan for Brazil, and we believe that we will have the market locked for us by the middle of 2012

GamesIndustry.biz South America's a new frontier for the video games industry - it's a growing market, but how long will it take to mature?
Nils-Holger Henning

First of all we believe Brazil is one of the great countries - one of the fastest-emerging markets in the world. We were thinking for quite a long time about where the perfect location for an office in South America might be - we're very successful and active already in Mexico, but Brazil has a population that's close to 200 million people, and it's the only non-Spanish-speaking country in the whole of South America.

When you look at the size of the country, and how consumers open up to the internet - how much time they spend online, looking at social networks - it was definitely the choice for us to go to Brazil.

GamesIndustry.biz In terms of consumer numbers there, where are you on the graph - near the beginning? Somewhere near the middle?
Nils-Holger Henning

We have a time plan for Brazil, and we believe that we will have the market locked for us by the middle of 2012.

GamesIndustry.biz That's pretty quick.
Nils-Holger Henning

It's online. We've seen Brazil's already a successful country for us, but now we're working with a lot of media corporations on deals - it's quite difficult to handle those relationships out of Hamburg or San Francisco.

Therefore we decided, to finally lock down the market and penetrate in the way that we'd expect, we must have a local presence - we must have Brazilian people working for Bigpoint there.

Every market is a little bit different - what we see within Europe is that you can enter markets quite well if you're aware of media ad networks and Google SEM. But in Brazil you need a lot of attention below the line - you need presence at events, you need to have promoters handing out gaming cards and things like that. We didn't have that before, and we wanted to make sure we were getting experience in that space.

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