Professor Odile Limpach teaches economics and entrepreneurship at the Cologne Game Lab and also manages the Incubator of the CGL. Additionally, she is co-founder of the accelerator SpielFabrique and works as Strategic Consultant for serious games and cross-media projects. Between, 2007 and 2014, Odile was the managing director at the German entertainment software studio Blue Byte. Before, she was the managing director of Ubisoft GmbH. She graduated from business school in France and completed her MBA in the USA. Odile Limpach is also involved as a volunteer in the areas of vocational training and media development. Furthermore, she acts as an advisor (CCEF) for the French Ministry for International Business Development.
Education and Professional Experience
Since 2015 Professor of economics and entrepreneurship for games at the TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences – Cologne Game Lab
The class “Economics and Entrepreneurship for Games” is designed to introduce basic knowledge of macro and microeconomics as well as some theories of media management, human resource management, and project management. At Cologne Game Lab, the class “Economics and Entrepreneurship for Games” is a mandatory course in the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Games and in the Master of Arts in Digital Games.
Since 2016 Co-Founder of SpielFabrique 360° Franco – German Accelerator for Videogames
We aim to develop a French-German Ecosystem for startups in video games and research the factors of success of these companies. The SpielFabrique Acceleration Program consists of online and on-site coaching which lasts nine to twelve months. Together with partners including the NRW Film and Media Board, CNAM Enjmin, ARTE, and Ubisoft, students’ teams and young companies are offered individual mentoring and financial funding.
2008 – 2014 Managing Director (with Power of attorney), Blue Byte GmbH
During her tenure as Managing Director at Blue Byte GmbH in Düsseldorf, Odile managed the studio and carried the full profit and loss responsibility, alongside defining and implementing the company strategy. Odile also negotiated and implemented the purchase of an external studio in Mainz (60 persons), and managed their complete integration within Blue Byte.
Odile also initiated and implemented a change strategy to transition Blue Byte into a multi-project and multiplatform (Console, PC, Online, and Mobile) studio. To achieve this, Odile created business cases for all projects and followed up on their economic results. She defined and implemented the HR strategy to grow and expand the skills profile of the studio in all fields of videogame development, eventually overseeing the growth of the studio from 40 persons to 300 within 4 years.
Odile even participated in the steering of the game projects alongside the project managers. During this period, she kickstarted and grew the online free-to-play business for seven games, positioned the studio as an online specialist within the group, and expanded business activities to online publishing worldwide. Odile reported to the headquarters in Paris as part of an online task force, where she represented the company and its business objectives toward governmental institutions.
2000 – 2007 Managing Director for Germany and Austria (with Power of attorney) Ubisoft GmbH
While at Ubisoft GmbH, Odile managed the German subsidiary with profit and loss responsibility while defining and implementing the company strategy. She supported and actively steered the buying and integration of two big videogame brands and their affiliated studios (Settlers and Anno). During her seven years as Managing Director, Odile oversaw the growth of the subsidiary from 30 to 80 persons and increased the market share to become the No. 3 independent publisher on the market. Her business acumen drew her to closely manage the relationships with the key accounts, alongside the addition and implementation of a cohesive marketing and sales strategy. She was also responsible for the distribution and marketing of Ubisoft’s portfolio of video games in Germany and Austria.
Odile also founded and grew the Austrian subsidiary during her tenure while simultaneously creating the HR strategy and developing numerous HR activities necessary for the company’s future growth. From a publishing standpoint, Odile developed business relationships with several German developers to acquire distribution rights for their games.
1996 – 1999 Marketing Manager for Ubisoft GmbH in several positions
1998-1999 Marketing Director
As Marketing Manager at Ubisoft GmbH in Germany, from 1998-1999, Odile created, built, and recruited the complete marketing department of 15 persons to take care of PR, product positioning, trade marketing, and advertising strategies and implementation.
1997-1998 International Marketing Manager Racing Games
During the period between 1997 and 1998, she served as International Marketing Manager for Racing Games. During this period, Odile worked closely with the creative teams to follow up on development mandates, create game positioning, and propose international marketing and sale strategies to subsidiaries worldwide.
1996-1997 Product Manager Video Games
During her first years in the company, from 1996 to 1997, Odile took on the role of Product Manager of Video Games. She marketed the Gaming portfolio of Ubisoft, among others Rayman for Playstation and POD for PC. Additionally, she was responsible for product management and the launch of the games on the German market. At this time, she was already directly reporting to the headquarters in Paris, France.
1994 – 1996 Deputy administrator at 3H International Spedition
Supported the managing director in all administrative tasks, responsible for introducing ERP software together with the headquarters in Marseille
Chevalier de l’ordre national du mérite, 2009 Conseiller du Commerce Exterieur (CCE) for France since 2001
The class “Economics and Entrepreneurship for Games” is designed to introduce basic knowledge of macro and microeconomics as well as some theories of media management, human resource management, and project management. Although the class can be considered an introduction to these fields, it shall also delve deeper into theory within particular areas. By providing this extra information, I aspire to create curiosity among students to research and develop further in these fields. As a matter of fact, the planned timeframe is structured to not only enable a glimpse of the theories of economics and offer some practical exercises, but also to foster self-reflection on management and organization.
In the field of video game development, the borders between production and commercialization are becoming increasingly blurred. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the developers of these games understand the ins and outs of commercialization and economic channels. The development of games requires a deep understanding of how the market is structured and continually evolves. The teams working on game development, in big or small studios, are always confronted with a myriad of external publishing requirements. Successful game development requires the capability to be highly innovative coupled with detailed market knowledge. Moreover, games are often developed following the “Agile” methodology. This requires an approach of hands-on human resource management and coordination, as well as flexible leadership qualities.
At the beginning of the course, I start with an explanation of the numerous connections between the development and commercialization of a video game and the necessity of cooperation and understanding between the two fields of expertise. For example, the artistic direction of a game influences the brand value of the final product, as well as the market potential in particular countries. For example, color codes and their meaning can often be understood very differently across different cultures. Additionally, online distribution channels nowadays have quite sophisticated requirements for code structure and demand specific reporting formats to be integrated early on in the game architecture. Many more interdependencies such as this exist. Consequently, developers and marketers are required to work together closely from conception until the post-release of the game. Furthermore, it is important to understand that many economic and management theories can influence game design decisions. The genre of a game automatically has an impact on the targeted group of gamers, for example. I consider the students as my target group and I build the class along a constructive and supportive alignment. The videogame market is a very fast-paced one with technical cycles that decrease in length and thus, nurture a favorable environment for startups and innovative, disruptive business models. As young creators, our students often wish to be entrepreneurs, start up a company and realize their game ideas. Therefore, entrepreneurship classes are framed to give students the necessary skills and provide not only a framework for how to create a company but also allow them to develop their managerial skills and strategic capabilities.
Publishing Strategies for Indie Developers in western markets
Research of strategies and publishing opportunities for independent developers. Deep analysis of the market, interviews of developers and publishers. Design a framework to decide on publishing opportunities.
Long Term study of critical success factors for Start-Ups in the videogame sector.
Pre-selection of the teams, mentoring, coaching, and development of supporting structure. The long-term results of the teams, the critical success factors for the videogame industry, and the particularity of the ecosystem of the region will be studied.
Current Research Projects
Creation and development of an incubator at the Cologne Game Lab – Cologne Game Inc
Conception, implementation, and running of an incubator for Students Games Start-Ups. Organization of mentoring, coaching, workshops, and negotiation with local partners for finding financing opportunities.
Market Analysis Work Group
Initiate and animate a student group to follow and analyze the videogame market evolutions. Various sources of information are categorized and valued, then analyses are made and shared with the Cologne Game Lab actors.
Marketing for Serious Game to improve refugee’s literacy, Antura, and the letters
Conception and writing of the marketing strategy and objectives. Coordination of the operations by a group of volunteers.
DIN Serious Game Metadata Format
Member of the working group to establish a DIN Format for Serious Games in Germany
- The Publishing Challenge for Independent Videogame Developers. A Practical Guide. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis, 2020. (April 2020 also in German at Springer Gabler)