Boris Wasmuth is Co-Founder and Managing Director Marketing of GameDuell, one of the world's largest game communities. With millions of registered players and an offer of over 70 exciting multiplayer games, GameDuell innovates and uses cutting-edge open source technologies to create a rich gaming experience across multiple platforms.
1. “Bringing people together to have a good time with games”. With millions of registered players and a variety of games, you surely achieve this goal. Can you tell us more about GameDuell?
The passion for creating high-quality games brought Kai Bolik, Michael Kalkowski, and me together in early 2003 to create GameDuell, now one of the largest cross-platform games communities. We offer a broad portfolio with over 70 casual online games that are mostly developed in-house. I think this is also one of our strong points, as we emphasize innovation in product development and technology as well as a long-term strategy in terms of finances. It allows us to achieve our goals, and, as you said, bring people together to have a good time with games.
2. That means that you’ve been located in Berlin for 15 years now! Being a dynamic and multifaceted city, a lot must have changed since you founded GameDuell. What, in your opinion, are the major turning points in the development of Berlin, especially in regard to the games scene?
I guess it all began with the internet crash in 2000, where most of the emerging companies were unable to sustain themselves. Many entrepreneurs thought that the whole internet thing was doomed. We did not and we were convinced that the entire process of digitalization was just taking its first steps. So, we continued networking and building up our company while actively supporting other founders. We were sure that Berlin would still emerge as a city with an active and vibrant start-up scene, and it did.
Recognizing this, already established companies that were not necessarily from the digital scene made a move that promoted another turning point. This was the relocation of their innovation labs and incubators to Berlin. This, of course, also had an effect on investment flows, accompanied by the attractiveness of Berlin as a workplace for competent professionals, from which founders and start-ups profited in many ways.
Finally, Berlin has become an international city. Walking through the creative hubs – namely Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, or Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg – one hears so many different accents mixing into English and German, which was not the case 15 years ago. These are also the places where you will find a large part of the start-up scene.
3. Is there anything missing in Berlin as a games hub, and if so, where do you see possibilities to fill the void?
I don’t think there is something like a void. I would rather say that there is still room for improvement, especially if it comes to the digital infrastructure. Luckily, domestic politics have realized that our businesses will be, and already are, a very important part of Berlin’s economy and have started measures to support sustainable development.
But it is also part of our commitment and responsibility to fill this space. All the networking events, workshops, and initiatives in Berlin allow us to do so, and I guess that many of us are happy to contribute to that.
4. You said that Berlin had become an international and diverse city. So is the GameDuell team. How does this reflect in the company generally?
With team members from around 28 countries, many different experiences and points of view merge at GameDuell. This is why we place an emphasis on agile teams – it is our passion for games that brings us together, and it is our interdisciplinary approach that brings our visions to life. With such a work set up, we are also able to learn from each other.
Additionally, our team is about 30 percent female. We are proud of this as we feel that women are still underrepresented in the world of games production and development. We’re eagerly looking for more experienced team members to realize international growth and empower women in the industry.
5. What can we expect from GameDuell in the future?
We want GameDuell to continue being a great place to work. We will also strive to embrace the latest technologies to remain at the cutting edge of innovation in terms of big data, AI, new games platforms, etc. while continuing to develop new card and board games to bring even more people together to have a good time with games.