A message from CodinGame CEO

Dear Community,

Two important pieces of news have sparked a lot of debate and emotion among CodinGamers lately: the chat is gone, and Thibaud is leaving the company.

I know you’re worried about the future of the community, that we’ll lose everything CodinGame was special for. Those concerns are understandable given recent news: I would like to address them with full transparency, and make sure you know we remain fully committed to making this platform thrive as a collective and not as a commercial product.

Let me start with a bit of history: the original business model of CodinGame was to have companies pay in order to have their name on puzzles and challenges. However, this model was not sustainable and the company nearly went bankrupt.

We then tried our hand at becoming a team-building agency, with one-off events for companies. This wasn’t scalable either, but it allowed some great features to emerge such as AI contests or Coding Escape.

In the meantime, we’ve decided to focus on one of our old products: CodinGame for Work. After many years working on gamification and assessment for developer skills, this turned out to be a successful product used by more than a thousand companies across the world. In 2018, CodinGame finally reached profitability, and last year we joined forces with CoderPad to become a leader on tech hiring. 99% of our revenue now comes from skill assessment with automated technical tests on CodinGame for Work: as you probably have noticed, sponsored challenges are progressively disappearing and all Coding Escape rooms are now free to play for everyone.

Then why are we keeping this platform alive?

It’s a matter of personal convictions. Everyone at CodinGame is extremely attached to this platform: either they were here from the start and are the ones who built it, or they joined the company because they fell in love with the concept. And I’m actually a bit of both! I was one of the first 100 users on the platform in 2012, and got hired by CodinGame after winning the first two challenges (no credits, we were only 100+ participants :grin:). I also built the AI contests, designed clash of code, and created Coding Escape. I truly believe all these games are unique and so fun to play - but still underrated and not highlighted enough. We have gold in our hands, and just need to focus more on how to make CodinGame.com even better.

Now, for the future of the community. It’s true that we progressively shifted our focus away from CodinGame to build our interview product in the last few years, ultimately ending up with Thibaud practically alone in a role where we used to have an entire team dedicated to adding features and content to the website. Engineers and product were barely spending any time on it. This is going to change soon.

As I’m writing these lines, we are actively looking for a successor to Thibaud who’s leaving the company. Trust me, it won’t be easy to find someone as amazing in the many areas he is currently handling. We’re actually replacing his Community Manager role with a more appropriate Senior Product Manager opening, with 100% of time dedicated to CodinGame.com improvements. From now on, there will be a whole part of the team (product, engineers and design) dedicated to evolve the platform rather than a single person to maintain it.

While we’re waiting for Thibaud’s replacement, @_CG_MathisHammel will take care of the forum, and I’ll keep an eye on Discord to make sure your voices remain heard with the help of our amazing moderators.

We also announced recently the discontinuation of the integrated chat, which had become hard to maintain and moderate, in favor of Discord.

After listening to your concerns and constructive feedback about this, we realized our choice could be improved. Having a place for live discussion directly on the platform is not only important for the core members, but also for the culture of sharing and personal improvement that has always been a part of this community. We are currently exploring alternate options, such as an integration of Discord where the chat used to be. We will keep you updated and any of your feedback is welcome.

If you have any questions regarding the future of CodinGame, please ask them below and I’ll answer them on behalf of the team.

And in other news: Fall Challenge 2022 is happening, and it will be an AI contest! We’ll share more details in the upcoming weeks :wink:

Loïck,

CodinGame CEO.

27 Likes

Hi Loïck, I have so many ideas to suggest and so many things I want to say, but the main message I want to get across is: “thank you for what you and your team are doing to provide this platform!”

I gave up programming in Pascal 25 years ago because I thought I just wasn’t cut out for it. I didn’t realize back then that success is the result of constant practice and stretching our limits; instead I tragically believed we were either good at things or not, and despite getting A’s I figured I was not good at programming because I found it difficult.

Instead of using those decades to advance my skills, I coasted through much of my teaching career on autopilot, largely because of an extremely severe gaming addiction.

About 4 years ago, I quit cold turkey and deleted Steam on my computer. Despite a few relapses into lame phone apps, I’ve mostly kept my addiction under control. About a year ago, I came to the decision that my life’s work should be programming (educational) games rather than playing games.

After months of trying to program using YouTube videos (which I’d often get sidetracked from) and random problems here and there that gave me a feeling of sluggish progress, I started making radically increased gains once I found Codingame. It tickles the same addiction that DOTA2 used to (especially the Spring 2022 Challenge, which was fantastic). But I’m not just wasting time here, I’m learning and continually getting better. I’m enjoying the challenges but also learning a valuable skill, so it’s like having my cake and eating it too.

To make matters even better, your revenue stream is built on a mutually beneficial model that couldn’t be in stronger alignment with my values. Instead of preying upon us users with an ad-driven, rent-seeking mentality the way so many social media platforms have become notorious for, this model not only helps users improve our skills, but your incentives are all geared towards adding value for coding students and for the companies that want to hire us by reducing search costs and increasing transparency about skill level.

I myself work in Higher Ed, but yet when I hire math tutoring candidates I don’t even care about what’s on their transcripts because I’ve seen too much cheating and too many A’s held by people who can’t really do the skill which a course implies. I mean… I’ve seen people with Calc 3 on their transcript that couldn’t even factor or tell me the quadratic formula.

By contrast, on your challenges, there’s really no way to fake it. There’s competition and standardized metrics, rather than the subjective opinion of professors who have wildly varying grading policies and difficulty levels.

All this is to say that not only am I grateful, but I’m quite bullish on the future of this community, this model, and this platform. There may once have been a time when it might have been too fragile to survive without the care and nurturing of someone like Thibaud (who I appreciate but am too new to know much about), but by now there’s already so much here and it works so well that I think the main thing is no longer engineering a great product - you’re already there -but instead getting the word out about it. That, and making sure you have enough bandwidth and server space to handle an influx of users once Codingame gets the attention it deserves.

To help attract that attention, as I get better at coding I’m going to start a channel where I make Codingame video tutorials, walkthroughs, and Let’s Play videos the way Mathis Hammel already does for your YouTube channel. I started very stuck in the weeds, but thanks to his video about how to get to silver in the Spring 2022 Challenge SPIDERS EVERYWHERE ! - Spring Challenge 2022 - YouTube I was actually able to get to Gold after about 30 hours of tweaking. Tutorials like the ones he makes are a very big deal for someone like me who still gets overwhelmed when reading through the Python documentation, but picks things up very quickly over video.

Anyway, to reiterate, Codingame is super fun, and even though I’m a total noob the people in the forums are helpful, the puzzles are great, the business concept is amazing, and - most of all - the execution is superb. Even though I literally rely on a paycheck from a college for survival, even so I still dream of Codingame someday becoming a serious disruptor to Higher Ed as it exists now, because this is in every way a better model. Here, people all around the world can access Codingame no matter how poor they are, and they can get noticed by employers for the quality of their work rather than the prestige and name brand of their university. The kind of access and training you’re providing is what the world is supposed to be like. I’m just in awe that this platform exists and I don’t understand why more people don’t know about it. But I hope the enthusiasm of users like me gives fuel to you and the team to pushing on with the vision. I also hope I can persuade the readers of this post to tell your friends about Codingame, and maybe even make more YouTube channels about it, because this is something that changes lives.

I haven’t been around that long but it’s already changed my life because now I so clearly see the pathway to obtaining the programming skills I’ll need in order to make the games I want to make.

10 Likes

Wow, that definitely gives us a lot of positive energy! Thanks for sharing your amazing story! This are some of the main reasons we’ve built that platform and we want to continue investing to make it even better. It makes us very proud :smiling_face:

1 Like

After 10 years working as a developer, I’ve learnt so many things this weeks thanks to the Codin Game plateform; I even switch to languages I’ve forgot. Thank you a lot and lot to all the team for all this wonderful work. I had a technical test on this plateform this previous week and it was really amazing too.

I don’t have no any knowledge about the business stuff so that I won’t be able to give any idea from my side to increase the revenue. I have really no idea if choose a way as the free to play/pay to win as video games can be a good idea for example (see Diablo Immortals revenues…). And if it fits with the valor of the CG community. So I will let people with the related knowledge plan a prosper business model to keep this plateform as the best plateform to start or have advanced skills in development.

About the few ideas I have in mind: Did you checked about existing platform, which are concurrent or not as root.me which are more focus on security? Did you think about expertise/adviser for companies? Propose formations for teams directly into companies? Workshops…?

I wish you the best

2 Likes

Have you considered offering some kind of premium account? I would love to pay your team with a small subscription every month in order to say thank you for all the fun you have given me on your website. Having a platform for multiplayer bot games is a real treat. Thank you for keeping the platform alive.

4 Likes