Online gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry, and has experienced fantastic growth over the recent past. According to market researcher SuperData Research, this industry is set to grow from $11 bi to $13bi in 2014; more than $3bi in Europe.
This has seen as an opportunity for companies such as Game Duell GmbH, a Berlin-based star that has grown rapidly over the last 10 years. With more than 125 million registered users, Game Duell is one of the most prominent players in this market.
Immigrant Spirit met with Rüdiger von Hennig, Head of Human Resources at Game Duell, who explained what drives its people and where the company is heading in the future.
IS: Rüdiger, what are you looking forward to every day when you come to work at GameDuell?
Rüdiger: First of all: The great team here at GameDuell. We are all game enthusiast and this can be felt every day. This passion goes into the design of our products and our services. GameDuell is remarkable for putting much effort in all the little details that make a difference – for our players, but also for our team.
IS: One thing that differentiates your company from other companies is: You are one of the “founding fathers” for digital gaming in Germany. You are already ten years in the market. What is your next big goal?
Rüdiger: Beside our very popular community platform, where players can compete in browser game duels, we are building up a new business area in which we foster social and mobile gaming. This market is really challenging with a lot of international competition. That’s why we are looking for experienced experts to join our team.
IS: For you personally: What is the biggest thrill out of this new business that you approach?
Rüdiger: That we reach an audience that is much bigger than our traditional core market. When you release a good social or mobile game, you have the chance to reach a global audience at once and ten, twenty, thirty million players can play it. This is really motivating – especially for the team. They feel the pride that they have worked on such a big project.
IS: Which kind of people can help you most to achieve this goal?
Rüdiger: We are a tech-driven company and invest a big effort into our technological infrastructure, our frameworks and our systems. We love our products and we have built a really stable and strong basis for that with a modular high-performance web platform based on JEE and a dedicated cross-platform game server. At the moment we are looking for a Database Architect, a Java Lead Developer and a Mobile Games Developer.
IS: Let’s talk about the Database Architect: Thinking about the best possible candidate – what characteristics does he or she possess?
Rüdiger: As a Database Architect at GameDuell, he or she – we already have a high number of female team members in our team – will be responsible for the database infrastructure and establish an architecture to make data accessible for our teams. She or he should have a deep understanding of database technology, especially regarding PostgreSQL, MySQL and Hadoop.
Second: The ability to understand what the service units, like business intelligence, need and third to support them the best possible way, because big data analytics is an important driver in mobile gaming.
IS: When you say “big” how big should we think?
Rüdiger: We have about 125 million players registered for our 70+ games. And really big can mean ten million players plus on a single game.
IS: The second position that you are looking for is a Java Lead Developer …
Rüdiger: Yes, this is the person who realizes the operation of a game. A strong game does not only need nice graphics or great gameplay, but also requires highly performant game services to be successful.
Meaning when a customer logs in, when he or she wants to play, that it is really responsive. And also all other services like community features, payment and customer care work well.
IS: What would be the cherry on top for this position?
Rüdiger: The cherry would be proven experience in live operations. We experience that there are a lot of people with good Java knowledge out there. But high traffic with millions of users like in gaming is really different. Candidates should also be willing to go through a test because we search for the best experts in the market.
IS: Which is the third type of professionals that could help GameDuell move forward?
Rüdiger: This is the magician who brings a game to life – a Senior Mobile Games Developer. She or he has to have great iOS, Android and HTML5 knowledge and should be a full-stack developer with great games experience.
Meaning the ideal candidate should have operated on a great and exciting game as a lead mobile developer.
Rüdiger: We are a “grown up” start-up. That means we are financially very stable and have a reliable long-term strategy based on different pillars. Our product teams are scrum organized. They decide on a two-weekly basis which projects to tackle and how to stay very flexible and adaptive.
Besides that we have an open door policy. We work a lot in open spaces and exchange ideas between the teams. GameDuell frequently invites international tech experts to coach and train the team and we regularly organize team events to celebrate our achievements.
IS: Which brings me to my last question. You are one of the companies who hire internationally. Tell us about your onboarding process.
Rüdiger: Onboarding means to have a new team member to feel special and to be ready to work productively in our teams at Gameduell. Since 2013 more than 50 percent of our new team members came from abroad: North- and South America, Eastern Europe and Russia, and also Asia are hot places to tackle great talent.
We search and recruit internationally, invite people here to get to know the team, help with the visas and all administrative requirements. Our Relocation Manager helps to find an apartment or reserves a room in our GameDuell apartment where new team members can live within the first months.
After solving the administrative questions it’s about cultural integration. Our team representatives work out an onboarding plan for the new team member. About when and how a person starts, how to introduce her or him to the job and the team, how to train her ideally and how to integrate her or him the best way possible.
We also have a lot of team events where newbies can connect with other team members and language courses as well. Central events for new team members are our GameDuell University and our newbie cooking. A very elaborated procedure for feedback during probation time completes the start package at GameDuell.