MMO gaming company in Amsterdam

Perfect World is a leading publisher and operator of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. It publishes its own content and works with select developers to bring their games to market. Key titles – including Star Trek Online and Neverwinter, a Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game recently released for Xbox One – are distributed under licence. 

The company operates according to a free-to-play model. “That means that our games are free to download, install and play, and we make a living from micropayments and purchases,” explains Gruenwoldt. “For example, if you want to get ahead faster in your game, you can purchase virtual currency and enhance your character. You don’t have to spend any money to progress but it makes things quicker. The reason the model works is because it’s easy to convince people to try our games.”

The company currently has around 30 million registered players worldwide, but this is a number Gruenwoldt believes is of secondary significance. “We don’t base our business strategy around the number of players but rather on optimising the gaming experience. There’s a finite pool of players out there and the number of accounts doesn’t really say a lot because we don’t own those people. They play our games but they might also play a competitor’s game, watch TV or read a book in the same day. Loyalty is a much more important factor for us. Obviously, it’s more fun as well because loyal players become experts and push us to new limits.”

Perfect World was established in China in 2004, expanding to the United States in 2008 and Europe in 2010. “After the US, Europe is a very developed market, so coming here was a logical expansion step,” says Rick Kwinkelenberg, Finance Director. He adds that the choice for Amsterdam as the European headquarters was logical too. “Amsterdam has good infrastructure including fast connectivity, which for an internet business is highly important. It’s also easy to source talent because people want to live here.”

As a recent arrival, Gruenwoldt is quick to agree. “I like architecture, history and culture and the sheer offering here is amazing. I’ll never get bored. And that’s a big part of the quality of life. If your employees are happy, especially if you intend to bring people in from abroad, then I think this is one of the coolest places in the world.”

Earlier this year Perfect World moved from its previous Amsterdam Zuidoost premises, found with the assistance of amsterdam inbusiness, into a newly refurbished office. Overlooking the Amstel River, it is a short bike ride from the centre and less than 30 minutes by public transport from Schiphol Airport. “We feel part of the city,” says Gruenwoldt of the location, “and we’re happy to have visitors. If anyone is interested in what we do, our doors are always open.”