Interview with Andreas Weidenhaupt, CEO of Infernum Productions
"Infernum is Latin and means hell. You know: Publishers are always the bad guys!".
We got the chance to sit down with Andreas Widenhaupt, CEO of Infernum Productions, a well-known publisher with amazing games under its belt, such as Dragon's Prophet or the latest Hazard Ops. We talked about the past, the present and the future of the company, and it was an enriching experience. Wether you are a fan or not, check it out!
QUESTION: Thanks for giving us the possibility to interview you. It’s a pleasure. First of all, what can you tell us about yourself?
Answer: I have been playing Online Games since 1997 and Ultima Online was my first true MMO experience. At this time, there were no online games publishers in Europe. I started my entrepreneurial career in the Online Games industry over 10 years ago with founding “Onlinewelten”. After selling Onlinewelten, I founded Frogster Online Gaming as the Online Gaming entity of the stock market listed Frogster Group together with Christoph Gerlinger, another serial Games entrepreneur. After Gameforge acquired the Frogster Group in 2010, I decided to follow my destiny as a “risktaker” and founded Infernum Productions AG, together with Christoph’s brother Tobias Gerlinger.
(Andreas WeidenHaupt, CEO, on the left. Tobias Gerlinger, CFO, on the right.)
QUESTION: Imagine yourself speaking with someone who has never heard about your company. What is Infernum Productions?
Answer: A dedicated western world Online Games publisher with very experienced and passionate staff. Our core competences are PR/Marketing, Game Improvement and Free-to-play Monetization.
QUESTION: Simple curiosity, why the name ‘Infernum’?
Answer: You have to ask the bottle of Sambuca, which whispered it to me ;). It took me several days until I found a free single word with a solid meaning. Infernum is Latin and means hell. Our little devil in the logo takes it not so serious, so do we. You know: Publishers are always the bad guys!
QUESTION: As publisher, Infernum has reached a huge success in the MMO games industry thanks to the European version of Dragon’s Prophet. Why did you want to publish this game in Europe? How do you choose which game to publish?
Answer: First, we have a structured and elaborate sourcing process to avoid wrong decisions due to subject ratings. This process enables us to break down our pipeline of 500 possible next titles to a shortlist of 5 – 8 serious candidates. Then it´s a matter of negotiations and timing. Regarding Dragon’s Prophet: Besides being a great game, we have worked with the developer, Runewaker Entertainment from Taiwan, before and together we had a huge success with “Runes of Magic” in Europe and the US. So there is plenty of trust in each other’s capabilities which helped a lot of course. We´re very proud that Runewaker preferred us, despite having better offers from older and bigger publishers.
QUESTION: Can you tell us something about the birth of the company? How did it start and how did you get to this point?
Answer: Well, when Gameforge took over Frogster I could have leaned back and do my job as a well-paid managing director. But I soon realized that this is not my nature. Shortly after I made the decision to quit and to switch to the entrepreneurial track again I met Tobias Gerlinger at the GDC (Game Developer’s Conference) in San Francisco who told me that he had just sold his company to Gameforge as well and that he´d be in the mood to found a new games company. Two months later we founded Infernum.
QUESTION: What can you say about the future plans of Infernum? Do you want to keep publishing AAA MMO games? Is mobile entertainment in the future of the company?
Answer: Our DNA is AAA MMO publishing. However we see the changing user behavior and the trend of spending more and more time with mobile devices so we´re looking into integrating mobile devices such a smartphones and tablets in our player experiences. With our recent title “Hazard Ops we will try out some second screen experiences, so be curious!
QUESTION: Infernum is committed with the free to play model. What can you say about it? In your opinion, is the P2P business model dying?
Answer: We believe that both models have their right to exist. We just like to build great player experiences by constantly improving a game by incorporating the feedback and the desires of the players. And we like the approach of having to pay for content only if you really like it.
QUESTION: Two years ago, we discovered Theralon –and we were pretty excited-, but we haven’t heard about it in quite a while. Is Theralon your next big game? Could you give us some exclusive details?
Answer: Theralon is still there but due to personnel bottlenecks we decided to focus on our publishing business first.
QUESTION: Send a message to all the fans of Infernum Productions out there!
Answer: I like to say “thank you” to all of our fans out there. The communities of Brick-Force and Dragon’s Prophet are awesome, so will be the Hazard Ops community.
QUESTION: Thanks for all your answers. Would you like to add something?
Answer: I feel blessed to be able to live out my passion and to earn my living by doing so. Thank you very much.