“A big company can become very dumb, very quickly”: CCP discusses the pitfalls of rapid expansion

Monday, 24 June 2013 16:31 GMT By Dave Cook

CCP Games is a slow-burning studio, with only two released games under its belt. While Eve Online and Dust 514 are iterative games that require a lot of feedback and development, studio CEO Hilmar Petursson has explained that this slow, methodical approach is so the company doesn’t make dumb decisions on a whim.

Speaking with GI.biz, Petursson said of his own position amid CCP’s growth over the past ten year, “I probably have had 7 different jobs over the past 10 years. The title hasn’t changed, but my job has changed a lot.

“When we were making EVE, I was actually writing the 3D engine, so I was very much in the boiler room of product development. Now the job is more abstract, more about talking to press, clarifying strategy for people, making resource allocation decisions.

“There’s a lot of focus on learning when you have a bigger company, to make sure the entire system is learning. The biggest shift was realizing that. A big company can become very dumb, very quickly. The larger the group of people becomes, the more you lose efficiency, fluidity, creativity, and innovation, unless you structure it very well.”

Elsewhere, Petursson explained that the company has its sights set on mobile and Oculus Rift for Eve Online. The head-mounted edition – dubbed ‘Eve VR’ – was shown at E3 earlier this month. You can check it out here.

Still, Petursson is keen to move slowly in these new areas, and he underlined the studio’s strategy moving forward, “We’ve done things in mobile over the years, but they’ve been experimental, like what we’re doing with the Oculus Rift now. We’re about to get more serious on it. There’s a lot of opportunity in building mobile product for our current customers.

“To be able to interact with EVE on-the-go, so that’s an obvious opportunity for us. That is a way to learn about what it takes to make successful mobile products. We’re going to make sure that we do it the right way. There’s no forced urgency to chase all the mobile success that we’re seeing. It feels right to give people a way to interact with a CCP product through a mobile device.

“The mobile device has basically become an extended organ. It’s the last thing you look at when you go to sleep, it’s the first thing you look at when you wake up in the morning. People want EVE Online on that. I want EVE Online on that.”

What do you make of CCP’s slow approach to expansion compared to – say – Zynga’s rapid growth that some might even call reckless? Let us know below.

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