Socialpoint, creating video games from Barcelona to the world
Pasqual Batalla Duran, COO of Socialpoint.
What is Socialpoint?
Socialpoint is a Barcelona-based video game developer and publisher known worldwide. It was founded in Barcelona and is part of Zynga and Take-Two Interactive. It specialises in mobile video games and has accumulated more than 700 million downloads thanks to hits such as Dragon City and Monster Legends.
When was the company founded and when did you start working there?
The company was founded in 2008 by Horacio Martos, Andrés Bou and Marc Canaleta. I started working there at the beginning of 2016.
What do you like most about your job?
I am lucky to work in an industry that entertains millions of people around the world, in a company that is committed to values such as innovation, passion, transparency and diversity, in a role that is different every day that allows me to have an impact and work with very talented colleagues who I can learn from.
And what do you like least?
The industry is gradually consolidating, meaning there are a large number of mergers and acquisitions that result in fewer companies. Socialpoint has been part of that trend and this has generated new opportunities, but it also produces risks, uncertainty, and a loss of focus on what we really like to do: create fun games.
What do you think makes your business stand out?
We have had success creating games and IPs (Intellectual Property) that have been enjoyed by millions of people for over a decade.
What is your main challenge?
Continuing to create new games that millions of people can enjoy, as well as keeping our current games updated and fun. In order to achieve this, it is essential to attract and retain talent.
Where is your business located? Do you know why this location was chosen?
Our company is located on Calle Llacuna, in the heart of the 22@ district. The founders launched the Socialpoint project at the headquarters of Barcelona Activa before moving to our current building, which is just opposite.
What do you like best about the neighborhood in which you work?
I believe that 22@ is the ideal place for a company like ours, as we are surrounded by numerous other similar companies: technology companies, startups, and so on. Poblenou is a charismatic old industrial district that has been converted into a tech hub, making it the heart of the city’s technology ecosystem.
How important is Barcelona for your business?
Despite belonging to the American group Take-Two Interactive since 2017, we have very firm roots in the city. Founded by people from Barcelona, our headquarters are located here; our staff lives here; and we collaborate with the community, either by training talent or collaborating with associations such as GameBcn, DeviCat, Barcelona Global, Casal dels Infants, Arrels, Espai Qwerty, and Eurofirms.
Which city could Barcelona be compared to?
Geographically, it reminds me of Vancouver due to the combination of sea and mountains, and the fact that they are both medium-sized cities. With regard to business, I like to think that Barcelona is a small San Francisco because of its creativity, entrepreneurship and technological ecosystem. Although, to tell the truth, I believe Barcelona is unique!
What kind of urban model would you like to see in Barcelona?
Without going into a technical explanation of what it should be, since I am no expert, I believe Barcelona should aspire to be an innovative, creative, cosmopolitan, technology-based, and enterprising city that attracts people and cultures from all over the world. At the same time, it should remain accessible and sustainable, a place in which local residents continue to feel entirely at home.
Which good practices in other cities should be adopted?
Helsinki is an inspiration for the gaming industry. It has created the largest video game hub in Europe thanks to the collaboration and coordination of the different actors in the industry, and that includes the government and city administration. We would do well to take note of their good practices in financing, incubators, accelerators, and schools and universities that specialize in video games.
What would you ask of the Barcelona of the future?
In general terms, it should continue to advance in diversity, sustainability and research while never losing its artistic and cultural essence. As for our industry, I would love to create an event on video games that would become a world benchmark. I would also like to see more Catalan companies managing to release successful games and the creation of a world-class gaming school to attract and train the talent of the future.
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