The thing about disruption is that it’s great to do to someone else. But it occasionally comes back and disrupts you as well. That might be one way of looking at free-to-play online game company Bigpoint, which appointed a new chief executive today.
Khaled Helioui, former chief games officer at Bigpoint, is taking over as CEO of the Hamburg, Germany-based company. Heiko Hubertz, the founder and former CEO, announced he would be stepping down four months ago. The transition comes as Bigpoint hits some of its own roadblocks in the drive toward digital games.
Console game companies have been changing leaders and laying off staff for some time. But Bigpoint was one of the new disruptors. It raised an estimated $460 million since 2002 and it has more than 300 million registered users. More than 1,000 partners distribute its games at online sites. And it has created a wide variety of titles, from the casual Farmerama to the licensed Battlestar Galactica Online. At recent Game Developers Conference and Electronic Entertainment Expo show, Bigpoint threw elaborate parties. One of them was at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
But by October, Bigpoint had to cut 120 jobs and Hubertz announced he would step down. Helioui says in a statement that Bigpoint has undergone a number of changes over the last year and is renewing its focus on quality games, innovation, and longer development cycles.
Bigpoint still hasn’t made headway in the mobile market, and it has pretty much retreated from making games in the U.S., where costs are high. The company still has more than 700 employees. Hubertz remains a shareholder and will continue as an advisor.
Investors include GMT Capital, Peacock Equity, TA Associates, and Summit Partners.