Archives for category: games industry

Age_of_Lords_marketing2 After over 1 year of loving craftsmanship and hard work by a great team, we launched Age of Lords today. Age of Lords is a Medieval strategy MMO designed for mobiles. The team used a lot of the things we learned with our first game eRepublik.com, one of the first hit MMO strategy games back in 2007 (and still going). But the team also used what we learned from failed projects and, some of the more recent successes we had on mobile as we pivoted eRepublik Labs from browser games only to mobile games. This game is really the result of learning and tenacity and I’m really proud of the result, of the team behind it and of what it took to get us to a point where we can release such a game. You can try the game on Google Play here and you can get the press kit info here

Check out the launch trailer here:  I will update you on how things are doing in a future post, but we are off to a good start! Age of Lords has been featured by Google as one of the top 3 new games this week 🙂 Screenshot_2015-03-26-12-19-56 o7 Alexis

I had a bit of an improvised Fireside chat with Joaquim Lecha of Social Point at the South Summit in Madrid a few weeks ago. I say it was improvised because Mike Butcher from TechCrunch was supposed to be the moderator and did not make it in the end. I think the conversation with Joaquim ended up being quite interesting, I did not know him before and was impressed by his knowledge and understanding of the mobile games market. We ended up covering a lot of the challenges that developers of mobile games go trough at the moment and the different approaches that companies like Wooga, King, Social Point or my own eRepublik Labs are taking to face these challenges.  I hope you find the chat interesting its about 30 minutes long.

I’m really excited that we are launching Tactical Heroes worldwide on the iOS App Store tomorrow after close to 2 years of hard work. The game has been available in what we call soft launch in selected countries for about 4 months now and we have received great feedback from over 36.000 players that have helped us to fine tune it for this big launch.

We have had great reviews from the players about the game so far, as you can see its average rating is 4,4/5 from over 140 reviews in the past 30 days.

Screenshot 2014-10-15 18.01.53

Still you never know until you have fully launched so fingers and toes crossed. You can find the new launch trailer below as well as a link to the full press release. You can also install the game for free from this link.

If you like strategy games and in particular XCOM or are looking for a a game for your iPad that gives you a really interesting challenge, then you will like Tactical Heroes and I would be super thankful if you could try it and let me know what you think either here in the comments or on twitter @alexisbonte

If you are a friend from the press, you have full contacts and resources in the press release link and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have directly as well, just use this blog’s contact form to reach me.

You can see the Full press release and access marketing materials such as logos, screenshots etc from the eRepublik Labs webiste, here.

 

A few days ago I was contacted by David Garzón for his excellent project comotrabajan.com that has tens of interviews of various start up CEO’s and execs where he asks them: “how they work”. I have decided to translate it to english since many of the people I work with don’t speak spanish and I realized that this was a pretty good guide to understanding… how I work and why.

You can find the original post here. I have made only minor corrections and adjustments to the original by David below.

I am Alexis Bonte CEO of eRepublik Labs and this is how I work.

“There are people who have to fight for their success. Alexis Bonte is one of these cases. Born in Paris he grew professionally in the UK, France and Italy and based himself as an entrepreneur in Madrid. He has quite a unique modus vivendi and is always looking for ways not to waste time so he can dedicate his free time to his family. Personally I am delighted to be able to read about how he works.” David Garzón

Trajectory:

Co-Founder and CEO of eRepublik Labs (crafting game worlds), business angel (Zonga.fm, Trilulilu.ro, TjobsRecruit.com, etc…) and Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum (Davos). Before eRepublik Labs, I was 6 years in lastminute.com in various roles: Marketing, Business development and Managing Director of the Italian business. I am half French half Portuguese and little Russian Armenian (from everywhere really), married to a Spanish wife from Cadiz and have 3 kids.

Locations: Madrid and (about 4 days per month (Bucharest)

Mobile: Iphone 5s and Galaxy 4

Laptop: Mac Book Pro

Twitter: @alexisbonte

“…success depends 99% on having the right people…”

What do you do on the first hour of a normal day at work?

When I am not travelling (about 10 days per month), sports at our office gym. We have a personal trainer that comes most mornings and is free for all the members of the team. I live in the same building where our spanish offices are, so I usually hit the gym around 8h00 or 8h30 every morning.

“… Sports in our office gym”

What are the apps or tools you can’t live without?

Gmail, Gcal, Google Drive (we have the full team on Google Apps) as well as Trello, that we use for all our projects. Google Maps as well because I hate not know ing where I’m going when driving. And finally our own internal tools to check the sales and KPI’s of our social strategy game world eRepublik.com live.

What is your favorite workspace?

The office. We strongly believe that the work space is very important, so we have invested in it with nice common areas like a bar, home cinema etc… We did something similar in our Bucharest studio with access to a terrace, games area, ping pong table etc..

Madrid Studio:

Bucharest Studio:

What music do you listen to whilst you work?

I don’t listen to music whilst I work, I find it to distracting. It is a little ironic, considering I am the chairman of Zonga.fm, the musical streaming solution for Vodafone (for now, in Romania but extending to other countries)

What is your best trick to save time?

Living above one of my offices. At the beginning I was afraid it was crazy, but it is one of the few ways I have to compete with other entrepreneurs who only live to work. I am 37 years old and have a family, I am in period of my life where I need to have a life outside of work, so I need to save as much time as possible by avoiding things like transports. Very often I will leave my office around 20h, take the kids to bed and come back around 22h to finish what I have to do. I am 1 minute away door to door so its easy to do.

“…living above my office.. is one of the few ways I have to be able to compete with other entrepreneurs who only live for their work…”

How do you handle your task list?

In this I am very classic. I have a small moleskine for each month, with 1 page per day, where I write own all my tasks for the day and tick them as they get done. I have tried all the digital solutions but this is still what I prefer.

What is your worse trait when working?

“Multitasking”, right now I am answering this interview, checking emails and finishing the projection on our next game, Tactical Heroes

Tactical Heroes tips web

Apart form your mobile and computer, what other gadgets are essential to you?

An iPAd, I have two with me, a mini and a air.

What was the hardest in your first steps?

Having to do almost everything by myself and the fear to fail. When I arrived in Madrid, I came from Milan, where I had a team of 120 people in a consolidated start up (lastminute.com). In Madrid I did not know anyone, apart from my wife, Jimena. I started alone in an office in calle Almagro. It was a bit of a culture shock. Luckily I met fantastic people like Martin Varsavsky, that helped me meet other people and enter the ecosystem.

Once you start building a team, the hardest part is to find ways to make that team be the the best possible team. This is even harder when you are in three locations like us (we have 2 game production teams in our Bucharest studio, one  in our Madrid studio and a finance & IP team in our Dublin HQ). This is very important and goes with the culture of the company, we invest in people but we need to also be firm with team members that don’t perform well. This is still our main challenge, working with the best team we can.

“…once you start building a team, the hardest is to make that team the best one possible…”

How would you describe your style of leadership?

One of my main values is fairness, I am approachable and friendly but not a “hearty dude” that just hangs out for a beer. I am demanding with myself and the ones I work with. We are not in this to just participate, we are in this to create the best company we can. In our case this means crafting the best games we can with a positive financial outcome and building the best possible team to have a “great company”. This is super difficult, and due to that I can be a little intense at times. I also try to delegate as much as possible in the areas where we have experienced people that perform, but I can really get into details in areas where we don’t have people with sufficient experience or where the results are below expectations. Basically, I adapt my leadership style to the needs of the moment.

“.. we are not in this just to participate, we are also in this to create the greatest company we can…”

What important lessons did you learn by creating and leading a company?

Success depends 99% on having the right people, at the right time, in the right place, jointly working on the right things for the company. Of course, you almost never have this situation of a perfect team, even less so at the beginning. So the most important thing I have learned is that you build this step by step, with lots of tenacity and with an eye on the bottom line so you don´t run out of money.

What advice would you give to a future entrepreneur?

Go for it or at least join a start up learn and grow for a few years with it and then go for it.

How do you deal with your mistakes?

I feel bad for a short moment, analyze it, then do the necessary correction as fast as possible and I move on to the next thing. I do a lot of mistakes, I believe it is better to make a mistake you can learn from than not taking decisions or risks. If you don’t do this you don’t progress.

What is your routine to disconnect from work?

My family, jogging in Casa de Campo and skiing on the week ends that allow it.

Fill in the blank space below:

I would love to see my friend and mentor Brent Hoberman answer these same questions

What is the best advice you have received?

“It’s time you go for it again and start another company” (My wife Jimena when I was starting to feel very comfortable in lastminute.com)

Is there something else that you would like to tell our readers?

We are all different, what works for one most likely won’t work for you. But if you are entrepreneurial or want to be, there are three rules that apply to everyone. You have togo for it, get the best possible team and be very tenacious.

And if you want to join a truly great adventure in the world of video-games, we are always looking for talent, so send us your CV to hr@erepubliklabs.com or got to eRepublikLabs.com

eRepublik Turkey Infographic

elabslogoThe creator of the hit game world eRepublik.com pushes for continuous expansion with new products on the horizon for 2013.

Madrid, September 13th,  2012 – eRepublik Labs is pleased to anounce the acquisition of the Alien Flow team, a proven team of mobile gaming developers based in Spain. The move is in line with eRepublik Labs’ effort to further boost its advance in the online strategy games market for and expand its focus on core gamers to mobile platforms.

Alexis Bonte, CEO and co-founder of eRepublik Labs, said: “We see mobile games gaining in depth and complexity and we see ourselves as extremely well positioned to take advantage of our European and growing global leadership in browser based multiplayer immersive gaming worlds for true strategy gamers and mix it with Alien Flow’s team strength in mobile platforms. We foresee our company to be among the first in Europe to capitalize on the current trend of core gamers moving towards mobile platforms.”

The Alien Flow team has in-depth experience in developing mobile games and applications, focusing on creating addictive and complex content for iOS and Android devices.

Chris Head, CEO of Alien Flow said: “We are delighted to join a company that consistently showed solid growth and creativity. We are looking forward to boost eRepublik Labs’ efforts to add new strategy games to their portfolio, in the wake of their success on browser platforms with their eRepublik.com strategy game world”

eRepublik Labs was founded in 2007. The company is one of the top 25 European start ups according to TechCrunch. eRepublik Labs is inventing game worlds, that leverage the power of communities and the Web.

erepublik.com_

eRepublik.com, its first massive online social strategy game, is set in a mirror version of the real world and launched in November 2007. eRepublik.com was a prize winner in the LeWeb3 start-up competition in 2007 as well as the TechCrunch FOWA competition in 2008 and was recognized by AlwayOn has one of the top 100 Private companies in the world in 2009. eRepublik was also a Webby Awards nominee in 2009 and 2010. Since its launch, over 3,5 million people have created an eRepublik citizen and the game world now has an active community of over 230.000 citizens, of which a high proportion play daily.

Chris Head has over 15 years of experience within the telecommunications and games industries. He starts today as eRepublik Labs new COO, where his extensive experience with large game studios will be key to help the 50 person strong company grow into the leading European provider for the growing tribe of core gamers that are looking for an accessible, deep and meaningful strategy gaming experience online and on mobile .

For any further details, please contact anca@echipapr.com or pr@erepublik.com

Screen-Shot-2012-03-05-at-5.28.07-PM

A few days ago, I learned via email that the World Economic Forum (WEF) had selected me to be part of the YGL (Young Global Leaders) class of 2012, this information is being made public today. The World Economic Forum among many other things organizes every year an annual meeting in Davos, without a doubt the most important economical summit in the world.

Every year a WEF committee selects 100 to 200 individuals of under 40 years to join the YGL community of 650 active members in the world (some very cool people in there). You can find the full list of the class of 2012 here: http://www.weforum.org/community/forum-young-global-leaders

I am honored and thankful to the World Economic Forum for nominating me to the Young Global Leader class of 2012.  This is especially rewarding for me as I will actually be joining my wife, Jimena who was selected as a YGL in 2010 for a completely different field: Art & Education and I therefor know just how incredibly interesting it is to be part of the YGL community.

I have been working, creating or investing in Internet start-ups since I’m 21, sometimes failing and fortunately a little more often succeeding in some not so obvious places (for internet start ups) such as Portugal, Argentina, Romania and Spain. And wherever I have been active with my own start ups I have tried to help the local ecosystem and local entrepreneurs.

I am currently the co-founder and CEO of eRepublik Labs, a start up of 50 people based in Dublin, Madrid and Bucharest that invents game worlds such as www.erepublik.com . I am also the non-executive chairman of Trilulilu.ro Romania’s largest entertainment website and an angel investor in half a dozen more start-ups.

It is in part thanks to all the people I have met, worked with (good and bad) and always learned from that I now have this new range of opportunities that being a YGL gives you, so thank you.  The rest is all my family and my wife’s making (and that of the person who submitted my profile to the selection committee).

I was asked by the WEF to answer a few questions that you can find below:

What are the characteristics of the next generation of leaders?

I believe that the characteristics of the next generation of leaders will be that:

–       They are truly citizens of the world, people who have been exposed to and understand other cultures.  Be it via travel, education or simply by being connected.

–       They are capable of leveraging the power of a connected world not only for business objectives but also for social objectives

–       They are less inclined to accept being limited by national borders or local rules something that has its advantages but also its risks

–       They are more socially conscious and true embracers of transparency and social mobility, what counts is not where you come from but what you are doing and what you are capable of achieving.

What according to you are the challenges and opportunities of the next generation of leaders?

The opportunities in terms of education, access to information and connections that the Internet offers, mean that the next generation of leaders can come from anywhere on the globe and work and develop anywhere. There is much more geographical mobility than before.

This is a great opportunity, in particular leaders that come from developing and emerging countries.  But it also creates the challenge both for future leaders and for countries on how to retain talent.

The playing field is not level and the challenge for the next generation of leaders will be to apply their skills for long term benefits in the countries or regions that they care about rather than just where the best and easiest opportunities are in the short term.

There are times where you have to leave to blossom as a leader but there are other times in particular times of crisis where staying is a necessity both for yourself and for your country. Dealing with this will I believe be a real challenge for the next generation of leaders.

What do you want to give and get form the YGL community?

To the YGL community, I want to give some of my time to be an engine that helps change how entrepreneurs are perceived in the old economies of Europe and drive not only a policy change but also a real attitude change towards entrepreneurs in these countries. Embracing entrepreneurialism is a force for social good and change.

I also hope it will be a great platform to meet new people I can share with and learn from.

I would also like to congratulate Martha Lane Fox (UK digital Champion appointed by the UK government who was the co-founder of lastminute.com and my boss when I started my career there) and is also in this YGL class of 2012. Martha and Brent gave me my first chance at lastminute.com and Brent (also a YGL but from a previous year) also helped me start eRepublik Labs.

Acens.tv just uploaded an interview that is a few weeks old, where I talk about eRepublik, social games, angry birds, having a company in Ireland and Apple.

Main points are:
– eRepublik going well, social games: 60% of social games players are women (not the case for eRepublik).
– Social games and Facebook: If you do social games make sure you are on Facebook but be careful not to have your business depend to much on one company.
– Angry birds, 45k to MVP, 75 million $ annual turnover (rumored), not bad. Practice does make perfect (Rovio developed tens of games before this one)
– Who would have said 10 or even 5 years ago that Apple would lead the way in mobile gaming!

Overall Gamescom (trade day August 19th) was very interesting, the traditional industry was out in force with giant stands in spite or maybe because of a drop in sales of about 33% YoY in June / July.Online players were a lot more discrete, only present in the trade area. Interesting when you think that this where most of the growth will be coming from over the next 5 years. The only MMOG players that were out in force with a large stand were WoW and Dofus (ok and Wharhammer was kind of there to within the giant EA stand and the conference org seems to like Twitter).Most of the big releases that were announced were for traditional offline games with a lot of interest for Avatar and the new Starcraft.  Dofus 2.0 was the only major MMOG announcement. In terms of the offline games that I felt were interesting was Ruse from Ubisoft, a wargame that looked really cool.

I also had a series of very interesting meetings but I can’t talk about them yet J

Just before GamesCom there was a GDC conference and from an online perspective I think the following were probably the most interesting talks as reproduced by Gamasutra:

Playdom VP panel on social gaming

Gameforge CEO, Klaas Kersting Keynote (great guy by the way, a real industry leader)