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 ODF » Interviews » HT-Johan  

Interview HT-Johan

HT-Johan is the CEO of Extralives AB. The company behind Hattrick. Today the ODF had an exclusive interview with him.

PSV-kampioen, PSV C-1
Q. Do you still like your job?

A. Itīs hard to see this as a job, really. It has become part of my life, and I like my life a lot! ;) But sure, I realize what you are asking, itīs not a given thing that a project like this can be as exciting as it is all the time. There are ups and downs, but on the whole I really love working with Hattrick. We have always been quite aware that to be able to invest as much time and devotion in this project as we do and have done for many years, the actual job needs to be quite flexible so that we can fit in other interests as well, work somewhere else, learn new things etcetera. That makes it extra hard to consider doing something else in the next few decades or so ;)

ODF-Pandarve, Pandarve
Q. If you didn’t have to account for others and if money would be no problem for Extralives, then what would you personally prefer to implement into Hattrick?

A. These kinds of questions are very hard to answer, because whatever I answer, it will be interpreted as some sort of master plan for Hattrick, and those kind of expectations is something we donīt like a whole lot. I would like to do more with the immense community possibilities though, both online and offline.

Vikas, Subspace
Q. In may this year, at the HT-meeting in Enschede, we got to hear the Hattrick song played with the crappy sound of your laptop. When is the song going to be officially released?

A. Before yearīs end, we hope. You mean my laptop was crappy, not the song!? Cause itīs not crappy at all ;)

HJHiaatje, SV Goud
Q. Interfed is a new program in Hattrick. It unites a couple of federation by asking the same poll, so we can retrieve the opinion of very many users at the same time. Is there a possibility to get feedback from the HT’s if we would send them the opinion of for instance 1000 users and are their more examples of an interfed in the Hattrick community that you know of?

A. No, this is the first time I heard about something like that. Interesting idea! You are of course welcome to send us results but I canīt really promise what the extent of feedback would be, if the ideas are good we tend to listen ;)

HJHiaatje, SV Goud
Q. Do you play soccer yourself and are you good at it?

A. I only played one season of football as a teenager and I was lousy at it. In recent years, I played in a non-league team which, objectively, was the worst in Stockholm. The only sport I have practiced on a continual basis was the peculiar one called orienteering, in which you run around a forest looking for control stations. But that wouldnīt make a very good online game Iīm afraid.

The-Fly, de parel van het zuiden
Q. How is the TSI being calculated (not the exact formula)

A. TSI is the exact same thing as the old market value, only with fewer zeroes. It was renamed because it wasnīt really representing a true market value, which tended to confuse newbies.

The-Fly, de parel van het zuiden
Q. Has the midfield influence really been downsized? My experiences are that the opposite is the case.

A. Decreasing the importance of midfield has been an overall tendency, using various measures. My experience is that these dicussions are always extremely influenced by the expectations of the individual user(s). For example, the hegemony of midfield was never as strong as the majority of itīs critics thought, but it was expected to be true and so everone acted accordingly, becoming infuriated when a strong midfield actually lost a game, seeing that as a bug rather than a balance in the game. Today, after we have announced that midfield has been toned down, expectations has run in that direction, but of course it is still important, as it well should be.

Tha Reaper, Tha Lionz
Q. If you would be very honest, then what do you personally think of the latest HT-version. So what do you think of the united transfer markets, the TSI and the “new” denominations?

A. The united transfer markets was a long overdue feature. Not perhaps so much from my own perspective, as I play in a league with a strong market, but for users in very small leagues with very low activity. We opted to keep the regional markets as there should still be an element of having to hunt and find candidate players. The TSI is an example of a feature that is very uncobntroversial from a game design perspective. Nothing really changed, we only chopped off some zeroes and renamed the old market value. But I can understand that the change may seem unnecessary to many veteran users. However, we do need to focus on what new users think as well, and for them it was counterintuitive that the "Market value" was no where near the actual market values. The new denominations was also a hygiene modification, where nothing truly changed, but in afterthought I can say that we underestimated the badwill users experience when their denominations actually decrease, even though the numbers underneath are the same.

Daanwiltschut, North Front Hellmond
Q. How do you keep Hattrick still fun in the future if all the teams are at their maximum?

A. They never will be! First of all, there is a natural circulation of new users, users who quit, users who have less time and so on. Also, in the top leagues in the old leagues, where teams are currently closed to being maxed, we see that entirely new skills are required. Hattrick essentially becomes a game about how to maintain a squad and how to afford and achieve "championship seasons" where you sacrifice the long term to be able to haul home titles. This layer of teams is still quite small, but it will probably grow in the future, but we do need such a limit, otherwise there would be no chance for younger teams to catch up with the old ones.

Grifo, FC P.P.S.
Q. Will Bjorn and yourself run Hattrick till the end of days or are you going to sell Hattrick to a company in the future? What if you did sell Hattrick to a company, then what would be your most important demand?

A. Tricky question. If you ask, "Will you run the game til the end of days", that doesnīt seem so fun perhaps. Maybe there are other things in life to do, eventually. I donīt know! But we havenīt considered selling it, partly because I donīt think any prospective buyer would be interested considering that we would demand that they stick to our business idea of not charging for the service.

Grifo, FC P.P.S.
Q. Do you often go to your cold Sweden now that your office is in the sunny Gibraltar?

A. Iīm in Sweden about one week per month, for meetings and for catching up with collegues, friends and family. That seems like a good balance, when Iīm going to Sweden I look forward to it, and when Iīm going back south, I look forward to that, too ;)

ODF-Chaggie, De technische bouwers
Q. Which stat, used for a winger, is underestimated the most by the average HT-user?

A. Ouch, I wouldnīt consider myself an expert of these sort of questions. In like allround players, so Iīll say passing.

ODF-Pieet, Pieet SV
Q. How dependent is Hattrick from their supporters?

A. We are entirely dependent on our Supporters. Supporter is 95 % of our income.

ODF-Pieet, Pieet SV
Q. What was the main reason for implementing the Clubhouse? Finances or an extra service?

A. The reason for implementing Clubhouse was a little bit of both. It is natural for a business to try and develop itīs product and to add new products. We also like the fact that users have homepages for their teams and thought it would make a nice digital service if we could sell a platform to make such homepages.

Ruben87, Ajax87
Q. Could you explain us a little how the match engine works?

A. What match engine? All games are real, didnīt you know, itīs just a parallell universe? Seriously, we donīt like adding any detail to the working of the match engine, what little mystery there is about should remain a mystery for the sake of the game experience.

Ruben87, Ajax87
Q. Is the chance that a goalkeeper gets injured the same as an outfield player?

A. Iīm not sure, but i donīt think so.

HFR-WeSSelz, FC Roffadam
Q. Do you also have a nice looking secretary?

A. Sorry, i donīt, but I would really need one, contemplating the level of my organizational genius! She (or he) wouldnīt even need to be pretty!

HFR-WeSSelz, FC Roffadam
Q. Are there (as far as you know) famous people which play Hattrick?

A. Yes, there are several that we know of, the last I heard was that four or five players of a famous football team currently in the Champions league play the game.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. In what countries have you been for HT-meetings?

A. Iīve been in Sweden, Norway, Spain, and Holland.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. Did you ever heard about the ODF before this interview?

A. I probably did when I was in Enschede, but I donīt trust my memories from that trip very much.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. If you had to interview yourself, then what would be your question (and the answer)?

A. Iīve never got any questions about how I feel about the fact that hundreds of thousands of people spend their time playing Hattrick, when they could do more constructive things, like studying or solving the problems of world famine, et cetera. I would answer that I have indeed have such thoughts, if what we do really does benefit humanity, and that I have reached the conclusion that there cannot be any inherent evil in a business that aims to pleasure people and communication between people. Of course, there could be more worthwhile things to do, but it really is a thrill that friendships are made (and the eventual baby comes to life) thanks to community of Hattrick.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. Will Hattrick ever be available to mobile services such as wap and I-mode outside Sweden?

A. Probably, when the time is right.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. Why are there no faces when I look at the National team players list?

A. May be because the national teams are not supporters.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. My experience with the new supporter mood is that it’s way better to be number 3 in the III then to be number 5 in the II (financially). There has been a very big topic on this on the global conference. What are your experiences and will it be reviewed?

A. I canīt really comment on this one. It is being reviewed as we speak.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. Will the prices which are been giving to the number 1,2,3 and 4 at the end of the season and the series number 1 scorer raise in the near future?

A. See above.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. Personally I think that the current YP system is very unfair. It’s possible for a average VIII team to get a € 7 million transfer with one lucky pull in the first week and he will surpass teams which have been working very hard over the last year. What are your believes on this subject?

A. Yeah, but who cares? Life isnīt fair. The youth pull idea is a great one, one dimension in which the game is level for all users, one dimension where everyone can be the global winner. I think that is something to cherish.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. What’s the purpose of the 5x log-in when you have less then -500k?

A. It ismerely a technical solution to the problem that users who are in danger of bankruptcy doesnīt seem to realize that they might actually lose their team. Limiting logins is a very harsh way of communicating that they need to put all other thoughts aside for the week and solve the problem.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. Will the current knock-out system for the national cup be reviewed? Isn’t a tennis system much more exciting?

A. The Cup change has alerady been announced. We opted to expand the cup, while there may be other changes along the road.

Casartelli, CVP
Q. Will Hattrick ever supporter Friendly-Cups (implemented into Hattrick)?

A. Maybe, if deemed worthwhile to develop. Match planning is the worst part of the system to make changes in, since it is very old code. They seem to be working quite nice as it is, but i agree it would make a nice feature.

Multiple users
Q. In the supporter7 document you said that the interface will change in the near future to help getting new players into the game. What kind of chances can we expect?

A. Perhaps no so much the interface, as various help systems that help newbies get on track during the first weeks.

Multiple users
Q. The match order screen is upside-down, cause the left side on the screen is the right side in the match report. Is their any chance it will be changed? Besides that, if you play in a 3-5-2 formation you still see the basic 4-4-2 on the match orders screen. Is their any chance of changing that?

A. There is a chance. Again, when concrete functions and feature will be added or if at all will be added, is something we seldom comment.

Thanks for your time Johan!

If you got any questions about the interview then please contact Casartelli.