Matthew Roszak

In The Press Blog

European game maker Bigpoint names co-CEO for US expansion

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Bigpoint has made a big splash in Europe with its online gaming business. In the past year, it has also begun an ambitious expansion in the U.S., a move spearheaded by its chief executive Heiko Hubertz.

Hubertz (pictured right) moved to the US in the past year because he considered the US market critical, but the need for a key executive at the company’s Hamburg, Germany headquarters has led the company to appoint Arthur Bastings as its co-CEO today. This kind of move makes a lot of sense as startups shift from a single regional market to a global one. It’s all the more important for Bigpoint because it is in the midst of a kind of Gold Rush in online games and needs to expand quickly.

Bigpoint makes free-to-play online games, where users play a game for free and pay real money for virtual goods in small transactions. Bigpoint’s games are browser-based, running soon after a user clicks to play one. Since Bigpoint had a head start in this market, it has accumulated more than 185 million registered users, with 250,000 more per day.

“Arthur Bastings has successfully built top media brands on a global level, and I’m very happy that we’ve been able to attract him to Bigpoint,” said Hubertz.”We are now ideally positioned to accelerate our global growth plans.”

In the U.S., Bigpoint has launched important alliances with Electronic Arts and Playboy. It has launched games such as Ruined and Battlestar Galactica which are aimed at a worldwide audience. In the meantime, Bigpoint needs Bastings to manage the affairs of the mother ship back in Germany.

Hubertz founded the company in 2002 in Hamburg. Among the company’s biggest titles are Seafight and Dark Orbit, which launched in 2006 and 2007, respectively. Those games are available in dozens of languages in 180 countries worldwide. Altogether, the company has 60 games available and 700 employees. Rivals include Gameforge, Jagex, InnoGames and Games. The company has raised more than $110 million from investors including GMT and NBC Universal (Peacock Equity Fund).

Both Hubertz and Bastings will report to the board. Bastings was most recently managing director at Discovery Networks, where he was responsible for the expansion of the European and Middle East region for the company. He also worked at Turner Broadcasting Europe, the TV arm of Time Warner, where he was managing director for northern and central Europe.

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