We just got off the phone with Paul LaFontaine, here’s a rough outline of the interview:
Continuing forward, Sulake is going to focus on two things: the friend making part of Habbo, combined with bringing in more third party games to the site. LaFontaine points out that they launched a third party game over the weekend and got over one third of all Habbos to try it.
Their goal now is “Getting developers to the site, show them the stickiness and they will bring the monetization. We have the eyeballs, they bring the games.”
The community has been stable since the summer, but “Disabling the communication channels [in Habbo] had an effect on the business,” says LaFontaine.
But when asked how he sees Habbo one year down the road, Lafontaine responded that they expect to see much more third party games and apps within Habbo. On top of that they will also be launching their mobile app, which is essentially already built, and will be launched by the end of the year. Currently they are making sure the moderation and safety features are up to standards.
By reducing the workforce, Sulake will be able to have a longer term view with more solid financial footing. “We can call our own direction now in terms of future investments,” says LaFontaine, rather than having an immediate need to raise funding.
At the end of our conversation, LaFontaine reiterated that Habbo is going to be open and free to play but their main goal is to focus intensely on the Habbo community.