People at Gameforge - Martin / Lead Product Manager

Introduce yourself: What do you do at Gameforge and how long have you been part of the Gameforge team?

My name is Martin, but I go by Willi. I’m now going on my 14th year at Gameforge, and – after many adventures in Community Management and Support – I’m currently responsible for our browser games as Lead Product Manager in a small but wonderful team.

Did you move to Karlsruhe for this job? How was the move and your new start?

I was born in Berlin but had moved to Munich 3 months just before switching over to Karlsruhe. My bags were practically still packed, and the move was comparatively just a stone’s throw away. At first, I lived in a shared flat and had a wild time back when Gameforge was still very small. And things can still get rather wild here from time to time.

Describe your typical working day.

After getting out of my still warm bed, I watch as one of my two cats crawls in it. He’s usually still there until dinner time.
I then open my emails, check on what all happened overnight and have a look at our games’ KPIs. Then I usually have various planning meetings to attend.
Other than that, the rest of my day doesn’t really fit into a predictable, neat plan. There’s always something new happening in the online world that we have to react to accordingly. And when things are a little quieter, I mostly use the time to think up new ideas for our games. I’m also supported by two co-workers who also know how to have a good time.

Can you name your most common task?

There are actually quite a number of tasks we do often. But I’d say the most important of our tasks is keeping our largest browser game, OGame, up and running. OGame poses new challenges for us every day.

What is the most enjoyable thing about your job?

Working together will all the colleagues I’ve grown close to over the years. And OGame, of course, since it’s been a part of my life for a good 18 years now and how I turned my hobby into a career.

What makes you and your position indispensable for Gameforge?

As Product Manager, I oversee the games’ destinies and am responsible for developing them. As a person, I’m probably most valued for my very extensive knowledge of OGame. I can sense when something’s wrong with OGame and know how to find the source of the problem.

What made you decide to pursue this career?

Back then, I decided on pursuing the position as Community Manager because it sounded like an amusing adventure. In the end I’d say, the evolving positions within Gameforge kind of decided on me. But it was certainly also my own desire to manage the future of my favourite game. And speaking as a team lead: I enjoy leading people.

Which three words describe the collaboration in your team?

The first thing to pop into my head is a quote: ‘We ride together, we die together. Bad boys for life.’
I think that sums it up nicely.

What qualities does an applicant need to have to be successful in your department, both in terms of the job and in terms of the team?

You have to be able to do a bit of everything. We always have to keep an eye on the success of our products but also consider the impact our work will have on our co-workers and the players. One has to be open-minded and rather creative. It also doesn’t hurt to have an eye for numbers and some experience in leading a team and product management.

In your opinion, what makes Gameforge special as an employer?

Even when we have a clear goal ahead of us, we’re relatively free in how we approach achieving these goals. We can introduce our own ideas at any time and speak openly about our suggestions.

What do you wish for Gameforge’s future?

That after the pandemic we’ll still meet up often, and most of all that we’ll throw a ridiculously huge party to celebrate OGame’s 20th birthday. October 2022. Who would have thought OGame would go so far!

What games are you privately interested in most?

From our own portfolio, definitely OGame. Otherwise, primarily ARK and World of Tanks.

And now for an inside story. What is your personal highlight at Gameforge?

Internally at Gameforge, I’d say all the 5-year celebrations of OGame’s birthday and receiving my model spaceship we get for spending 10-years with Gameforge which is also from OGame.
And outside of Gameforge directly, it would be the special moments inside the communities. That includes meeting the players and being invited to team members’ weddings and baptisms, to bringing people together through our games who would have otherwise never met.

Why do you like working in Karlsruhe and what’s your favourite location here?

I like working in Karlsruhe because it’s the home of Gameforge and the people who make up Gameforge. My favourite place is currently the Günther-Klotz Park near where I live. I can get there easily and am immediately surrounded by nature. It’s a good place to unwind and think in peace.

What are you interested in outside of work?

What’s this ‘outside of work’ you speak of?
I’m looking forward to being able to connect with our players again at community events in the *hopefully* not so distant future. Otherwise, just being able to take a load off, get out and enjoy the world beyond my own 4 walls.

What do you still want to do or achieve in life?

To fly to outer space, but I might have been born a few years too early for that. But a parabolic flight to experience weightlessness would also be nice.

Imagine Gameforge were a party. What would your responsibilities be before, during and/or after the party? 

I’d be ‘Chief of BBQ’ in the company and would be standing behind the grill. Ahead of the party, I’d organise the budget. During it, I’d set a good example by partying hard. And afterwards, I’d see that everything is put back in its place properly.

On a scale of 1 to 10 – how crazy are you?


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