Hi there. My name is Andreas Skoglund, I am a 36-year old nerd who lives in Stockholm, Sweden together with my wife and two daughters. At this particular point in time I am the CEO of Cortopia Studios. When I am not doing work, I tend to split my time between consumption of digital entertainment and spending time with my girls at home.
Cortopia is a gaming studio within the VR sphere with ambitious plans to start doing very cool stuff in the near future.
It started with a wish to do something different and go to a more intimate setting. Before Cortopia I was working at DICE for 7 years where I very much enjoyed my time and I’m still today very much in love with the company and the people there. But I am a restless soul and came to a point where I felt I knew the reality of working for a big media company a little too well and wanted to focus my time in a creative setting where you can make a lot of impact.
I knew Ricky, the founder of Cortopia, since his time at DICE a couple of years ago. When he asked if I was interested in helping him direct the company as its new CEO, I felt it was a perfect fit for where I were mentally at the time and here I am today with a new set of wonderful colleagues and a whole new fresh industry to conquer.
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
The single most exciting part is to be able to work with passionate and driven people. In a smaller company like Cortopia the success lies within how the people decide to engage in their work. I don’t see myself as a boss with all the answers, my primary role is to make sure everyone knows their purpose, share the vision of where we are going and feel like they have a personal and professional journey to grow with. How well the company does is directly correlated to how engaged the people within it are.
Cortopia secured a rather significant funding at the end of 2017, 21,5m SEK to be exact. How was this experience like and what are the goals with this new influx of capital?
Working in the still very early industry of VR and AR comes with the reality that not many companies are able to fully drive the business on profit. So funding is a common form of securing continued results and innovation. For us, we were lucky to find investors that share our vision for the future and the industry and are willing to partake in our journey for the long run. As for goals, we want to build on the success of our first game Wands and widen our VR portfolio while also venturing into AR. We will do this by recruiting industry leading talent.
Nice! You mention Wands, Cortopia’s hero title. Can you give a brief introduction for anyone not aware of what this game is about?
Wands in its core is a competitive, player vs. player game set in the scene of magic duels in the 13th century of London. You take the role of a wielder and load up your wands with magical spells and challenge other players around the world to show who is best by climbing the leaderboards. It is a very beautiful and intense experience that has a big following of dedicated players. What is also very cool is that the game is available on the majority of the major VR platforms out there and everyone can play everyone.
Given Wands’ very competitive scene, are there any plans to expand into the eSports market?
I am personally a big fan of eSports and spend a lot of time on Twitch. So yes, we are keeping a close eye on opportunities in this area to see what the future might bring.
What about future games? Is this something Cortopia is looking into and if so, will it also be within the VR space?
I believe we both need and will grow by putting our creative hats on and work on some new and different types of games. We have an immense talent pool with itchy fingers. Along side of this we are still very much dedicated to Wands and will keep supporting the game for a long time to come.
Where is the AR and VR industry going in the next years and are these two subjects relatable?
I believe both VR and AR will continue to grow at a steep rate as the technology becomes more powerful and available to the general public. VR and AR are by definition two very separate experiences but as we move into the future I am sure that from a gadget-perspective they will merge into the same device and very much replace things like smartphones and TV screens.
Where do you see Cortopia in 5 years given your thoughts on AR and VR?
We are breaking new grounds in how entertainment is experienced on these platforms.
For anyone wanting to get into the gaming industry, what are your best tips?
Education is always good and will get you a long way, but I came into the industry with no formal education in the area or previous experience in the industry. Both looking at how I landed my first job in games and what I today look at when I hire people, it mostly comes down to a genuine love for games and the will to leave ego at the door and learn on the job. I will take true humble ambition with the mindset of doing what it takes over a proven track record any day of the week.