Top Eleven 10th anniversary interview: From humble beginnings to mobile gaming’s biggest football management sim | Articles


For the previous 10 years, Nordeus’ Top Eleven has been one of many biggest football management sims on the earth. Having began life as a browser sport, it will definitely made its approach over to mobile in 2011, the place it is since amassed over 220 million registered customers.

The sport has grown and developed significantly through the years, sidestepping the concept of annualised sequels rather than a seasonal construction. Before the time period “live service” was generally used, Nordeus CEO Branko Milutinovic and his staff had been devising a sport that would preserve gamers round for years to come.

“It always made sense to be an ongoing live service rather than yearly iterations”, says Branko. “Players are building their squads over years, and they don’t want to have to restart that every 12 months. So the decision [not to go the route of annualised sequels] was based around the user’s needs and motivations, to encourage longevity and loyalty. Just like real-world football.”

Branko tells me that the staff has labored to preserve the sport on development with fashionable types with out sacrificing the center of the expertise.

“What we have looked to do is keep the core fundamentals of the game. From match times, league system, auctions, and squad building. That stability enabled us to build out a committed and loyal user base, and we could build on that throughout the years to keep it evolving.”

Another approach during which Nordeus was an early innovator was its profitable adaptation of Top Eleven from Facebook-only browser sport to mobile.

“We had a couple of big challenges in the early days, like servers going down in the middle of the night, but thankfully we have some exceptional engineers who would burn the midnight oil to get the fixes up and running. That was a big learning curve for us during the start of the company and dealing with a large user base, we learned a lot, but also made a number of decisions on pure gut instinct.”

Top Eleven’s success was additional cemented when José Mourinho was introduced on to be the face of the sport in 2013.

“He’s one of the most successful managers in the world, so that not only helps us in brand recognition, but also we can learn so much from him. He came into our office last year for a chat with the whole company, and to give us some wise words on leadership and management. He’s a very inspiring speaker. He also has a great sense of humour, and this has really helped when we are creating content such as pranking Football Daily and our community.”

Rubbing shoulders with the celebs and working one of many biggest mobile video games of the last decade is not one thing the staff at Nordeus seemingly envisioned again in 2010. The studio had a really humble starting, and its indie spirit is one thing that Branko sees as being key to maintaining the corporate grounded and humble. He tells me this concept is baked into Nordeus in any respect ranges, from the hiring course of to how management operates.

“We look for true team players, those who will bring to the forefront collaboration and togetherness. Those who can bring something special to the table and want to help others grow. The spirit of the team is key.”

“We also look to make sure that we as a Leadership Team are open and transparent with everyone. We ensured that our office is right at the centre of the building with easy access for all to come in and chat with us, we hold weekly company-wide meetings where we share game updates, financial performance, business strategy, and we keep this transparent and open in an AMA environment.”

In current years, management behind a number of the largest, best-known sport growth studios have come beneath hearth for poor therapy of workers, damaging durations of crunch, and cultivating poisonous working environments. Branko tells me that, in attempting to keep true to its indie roots, Nordeus’ management strives to prioritise its staff’s well being and happiness above all. He says it is about management displaying empathy and looking out to make sure that workers are pleased at house in addition to within the workplace.

Many of the sport’s most up-to-date additions are stated to be pushed not by the staff however by the sport’s group, together with Nordeus’ tackle the battle cross, Special Sponsor. The staff has additionally experimented with main tie-in occasions with, for instance, the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

While Top Eleven has remained related for a full decade, there is no doubt that it faces stiffer competitors than ever earlier than within the football management house on mobile. Branko believes that the sport’s continued reputation implies that Nordeus should be doing one thing proper.

“But you can’t let that make you become complacent. We have and must look to develop new features, listen to our players, and continue to innovate. I believe that if we had gone the route of yearly iterations, we would not be in the same position as we are today.”

And so what about the way forward for Top Eleven? Where will the sport be on its 20th anniversary? 

“Hopefully we’re back here with you asking me how we’ve kept a game running for 20 years. I don’t think people thought we would get to 10 years, but the game is still going strong. So let’s see where technology and the industry takes us. I want to see Top Eleven ingraining itself further into the football vernacular, and then let’s continue to listen, learn, adapt, and innovate with our players and new tech. Football is evergreen, so Top Eleven should be as well.”

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