Innogames looks to branch out from hardcore-focused browser games with cross-platform mobile push


By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Innogames, the German developer and publisher primarily known for its hardcore browser games, is looking to expand its audience with a cross-platform mobile push.

The company isn’t focusing on Facebook — where its games Grepolis and The West register a combined 360,000 monthly active users according to AppData. Instead, its working on iOS and Android apps that tie directly into its browser-based games. This is a different tactic from what competitors Gameforge and Bigpoint are trying, where Facebook Connect and mirror apps figure prominently into the strategy.

“The goal is not to get into the mobile market, but rather to improve our games by getting them into the mobile market,” explains Dennis Heinert, Innogames’ head of public relations.

Innogames tells us it is strongly positioned strongly among free-to-play game portals. The company has more than 75 million registered users, and conversion rates on its games range between five and 20 percent. The games it makes so far have been highly competitive strategy games, which appeal to hardcore gamers — its userbase is about 80 percent male, according to Heinert.

However, the company is looking to expand its audience to women and casual players, something it believes it can do by going mobile. Upcoming game Forge of Empires is specifically designed to appeal to a broader audience that Heinert refers to as “mid-core,” combining city-building mechanics with optional tactical fighting elements. The game will also be company’s first title to go cross-platform on mobile.

When asked why his company is focusing on mobile when others are looking at social networks, Heinert gave two reasons, the first being the user experience.

“When you have a strategy game where you could be attacked at any time, it’s a huge advantage for you if you’re in the subway and you get a push notification telling you you’ve been attacked,” he says. “It’s better for the users of our highly competitive games like Grepolis and Tribal Wars.”

The second is a marketing reason: Android and iOS are new channels in which the developer can recruit players.

“Casual gamers are tending to use mobile games compared to browser games, and if we want to attract those players to our games like Forge of Empires, its very important to have a mobile version,” Heinert says.

Innogames released its first iOS app, Tribal War, in December; the Android version is forthcoming. According to Heinert after Forge of Empires, Grepolis will be the next title to get the cross-platform treatment.