A fast-grow­ing stu­dio that’s open to cre­ative risks

That’s why we give a lot of au­ton­omy to our guys. We know that if we stip­u­late peo­ple have to use spe­cific tools, they’ll lose part of their own­er­ship of that project and they’ll be forced to make de­ci­sions that they’re not re­ally happy with, which would be a de­struc­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. I un­der­stand why many com­pa­nies work­ing on huge projects use common tools to save money and time, but cur­rently we see more neg­a­tive points in that. We just let peo­ple choose what they feel is the best. And, of course, they’re re­spon­si­ble for that! We’re still try­ing to keep the feel­ing of a startup, and startups don’t need to bal­ance be­tween ef­fec­tive tools and cor­po­rate stan­dards – they choose what fits them best at any given mo­ment.

So how does the Hit Fil­ter work?

The idea ap­peared last year. The free-toplay game in­dus­try in gen­eral has a re­ally tur­bu­lent at­mos­phere, and the mar­ket changes ev­ery week, with hun­dreds of ap­pli­ca­tions ap­pear­ing. So if we want to suc­ceed, we have to adapt fast. This fil­ter idea came in as we started to have a big­ger share of the mar­ket. There are tens of thou­sands of games, and the chance of suc­cess is re­ally low – that’s why we need to con­cen­trate only on the games that we be­lieve will be top hits. We want to only work on the best games, and so that means start­ing many games, check­ing them con­stantly, and stop­ping the games that are not good enough.

And what about Lab Time?

It was one of the mea­sures that ap­peared when we brought in the Hit Fil­ter. By de­sign, Hit Fil­ter means stop­ping projects even when the team has got quite big, and so it’s im­pos­si­ble for the whole team to start work on a new project. Lab Time means you can learn the things you want to, so de­vel­op­ers and en­gi­neers can use the time to learn new en­gines or even lan­guages, or de­velop a spe­cific fea­ture that’s use­ful for the whole company. It works re­ally well, and I’m happy to have it. It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to be hon­est with them­selves; for the Hit Fil­ter to work, they need to be able to stop. If there was no Lab Time, peo­ple would be afraid to say that, be­cause they might lose their role or job. We want to cre­ate a cul­ture where fail­ure is all right. We will make hit games, but we will fail many times along the way, and it’s good to fail!

What are Wooga’s am­bi­tions?

It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to see how the au­di­ence for gaming has ex­ploded, and our vi­sion is that in five to six years, play­ing games – not just ours – will be as com­mon­place as lis­ten­ing to mu­sic or watch­ing TV.

Wooga’s home – all open plan, with no closed of­fices – used to be a bread fac­tory, and still has gi­ant flour dis­pensers hang­ing from the ceil­ing

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