Making history and smashing milestones with June’s Journey | Pocket

A subsidiary of Playtika, Wooga, announced in November that its flagship title, June’s Journey, had achieved $1 billion in revenue. In addition, this also meant it was the first German mobile game to reach such heights in the past six years. June’s Journey stands as the highest-grossing hidden object game on both the App Store and Google Play, with a large number of female players accounting for its player base.

We spoke with Wooga’s vice president of games, Martin Müller, who shared his insight into why June’s Journey has been able to achieve such highs and how an inclusive and diverse audience has not only played a part in that success but also how it plays a significant role in Wooga’s workplace culture. June’s Journey recently reached the massive milestone of the $1 billion mark. How do you feel about this accomplishment and what do you believe made it possible?

Martin Müller: I’m incredibly proud of the Wooga team for this outstanding achievement. The key factor contributing to our success lies in our continuous commitment to listening to our players. By understanding their gameplay habits and motivations, we have enhanced and expanded the game over the past six years, leading to this impressive milestone.

Since the beginning of Wooga, our goal has been to develop games that are inclusive and engaging for a diverse audience.

Martin Müller

A huge percentage of June’s Journey players are women over 55, an audience that is overlooked in many other games but has been a critical factor for success here. How did you engage so deeply with these players and nurture a loyal fanbase?

Since the beginning of Wooga, our goal has been to develop games that are inclusive and engaging for a diverse audience. As a natural outcome, our games have garnered a large female player base. One way we’ve strengthened this relationship with our longtime players is through special annual events celebrating the anniversary of June’s Journey. These events involve inviting players to take part in contests, creating opportunities for face-to-face interactions.

This deliberate initiative has played a crucial role in fostering a community and establishing lasting connections with our players. However, engaging our community of players goes far beyond yearly anniversary celebrations. Throughout the year, the game provides many ways for our players to form tight-knit gaming communities by engaging with our club features or via in-game events.

How could other developers do more to make their games more inclusive? Any advice you could offer?

For us, embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is of utmost importance. It goes beyond our hiring practices and workplace culture all the way to our stories and in-game characters. Creating a rich and inclusive narrative starts by forming a diverse team responsible for writing the stories and developing characters.

We also place a high priority on thorough testing with players, actively seeking their input through processes like UX testing. Embracing diversity will always remain a fundamental aspect of our approach. The key for me is to not have an agenda or try to place specific messages into the story. The world is a rich and diverse place and our stories reflect that. We neither exaggerate nor shy away.

June’s Journey is also the fastest German mobile game ever to reach these heights and is now the highest-grossing hidden object game worldwide! What do you think sets the game apart from others?

The game offers an immersive experience by captivating players with an engaging story set in the vast world of June. Over the years, we have consistently introduced new features and extensions to cater to a wide range of player interests. For example, story enthusiasts can delve into additional side stories, social players can collaborate with their club members to solve cases, and those seeking competition and challenge can participate in competitive events.

How do you reflect on the game’s journey so far and what comes next?

We face challenges in acquiring new users due to rule changes across various platforms, such as IDFA two years ago and subsequent adjustments by Google.

Martin Müller

Looking ahead, we are dedicated to continuously serving our players and community for the long haul. We have numerous ideas to improve and broaden the June’s Journey experience. With players actively involved for over five years in our in-game community, our ongoing goal is to consistently bring joy and inspiration to these dedicated participants.

What do you think are some of the biggest market challenges right now and how can we combat them?

As a market leader in our genre, it is our responsibility to generate innovative ideas that improve the experience, making sure our game remains enjoyable, engaging, and immersive in the ever-changing world of gaming. To achieve this, we prioritise a continual and thorough understanding of our user base.

In addition, we face challenges in acquiring new users due to rule changes across various platforms, such as IDFA two years ago and subsequent adjustments by Google. These changes have impacted user acquisition strategies across the gaming industry. To address this, we are placing a strong emphasis on building a robust community and encouraging word-of-mouth promotion. Our goal is to cultivate advocates within our player base, ensuring ongoing engagement and long-term gameplay.

What about the mobile market in general excites you most right now?

The most exciting aspect is the heartfelt appreciation we receive from players. The ability to hear firsthand how our work positively impacts their lives is one of the reasons why working in this industry is truly fantastic. Games are no longer played exclusively by hardcore gamers on stationary game devices. We can entertain anyone now, anywhere at any time.

Finally is there anything else you can tell us about what Wooga is working on or what we should be on the lookout for?

I assure you that our team is tirelessly working on innovative projects that we believe will bring a lot of excitement and entertainment to our players.