My.com hires new marketing director from Game Insight

Alexandra Pestretsova, former VP of marketing at Russian mobile game developer Game Insight joined Mail.ru European office as director of marketing. Mail.ru operates as My.com outside Russia.

Rumor has it after several years of unsuccessful experiments with B-class games on international markets, Mail.ru decided to go only for high budget free-to-play titles, namely World of Speed, Skyforge, Ground War: Tanks and one unannounced game from Obsidian Entertainment.

Obsidian Entertainment also helps Mail.ru internal team (called “Allods Team”) with Skyforge’s single-player.

Russian traditional games media is on decline (or not)

Mikhail Kuzmin, marketing director of AIGRIND, just posted this picture. It’s an overall audience change during last three years for “Games” category in Top.mail.ru rankings. Almost every major gaming website uses top.mail.ru counter. This graph paints a grim picture for gaming websites, their total pageviews seem to be on decline.

1st

Here is a graph from Liveinternet, another popular choice for statistics. Audience of gaming websites is still declining here, but slower than on a first graph.

2nd

 

Main reason for this seems to be the rise of Youtube personalities, Twitch streamers, VK.com communities and other non-traditional media that isn’t accounted for by Top.mail.ru or Liveinternet.

UPD: Gadji Makhtiev of Kanobu.ru sent me this graph from Liveinternet stats and explained, that decline in pageviews occured because of falling views per visitor, not because of shrinking audience. He actually thinks that gaming website audience is still growing. He sees it as a result of introducing wider audience to games – they don’t read that much.

3rd

Russian press this week

Dark Souls II and Titanfall dominate this week’s Russian press coverage. Both games got raving reviews from Russian media, both are currently sitting at 92% at Kritikanstvo.

Some media outlets, late to the party, are still writing about South Park: Stick of Truth, it still has 89% at Kritikanstvo.

Russian gaming press is usually not that different from Western gaming press, so you won’t find something notably “Russian” about this week’s reviews – they’re praising Dark Souls II unforgiving difficulty, Titanfall’s accesibility and South Park’s humor.  One notable extempt is IGN Russia’s review of Stick of Truth. It is written in pseudo Imperial Russian language for some reason, probably trying to be funny.

Russian media also unleashed wave of Alien: Isolation articles after preview event in Moscow (Gmbox, Kanobu, Kitchen Riots). Again, nothing unusual here: everyone just loves new installment of classic franchise.

Press continues to discuss ArcheAge beta in Russia since Mail.ru claims it to be the biggest MMO launch on CIS territories. Kanobu writes a critical report on ArcheAge, claiming to be subscription-based game and time sink, while Games.Mail.ru unsurprisingly loves it, giving it 9.5/10.

Russian age ratings for videogames

Despite what everyone outside Russia thinks, there is no official censorship in games industry of any kind or, at least, it never happened so far. Russian age rating system works a little bit different from most age rating systems in other countries.

Ratings are mandatory by law

There is a special law that regulates all age ratings in media, including games, movies, news, shows, books and even blog posts. You should read it. There are also fines applied for failing to rate your game properly or selling adult games to minors, click here for more information. Continue reading

That meeting with Russian parliament? Nothing serious so far

Remember that meeting between Russian gaming industry representatives and members of Russian parliament? It did happen today, but no one from gaming industry showed up. Timing for this kind of event wasn’t great, because everyone already left for GDC.

So, this was again meeting between Russian gaming press and members of Russian parliament. They did agree that gaming industry could use some investments and even decided to create so-called “Games Academy” to help select Russian game developers for government investments.

Also, some people suggested awards for gamers, e-athletes and gaming press, e-sport events on federal TV and more patriotic games.

Hopefully next time someone from gaming industry will actually show up.

P.S. Russian gaming press in Russian parliament:

Vasily Sonkin and Konstantin Govorun

Kritikanstvo.ru is a Russian version of Metacritic

Ever wondered what Russian press thinks about your game? Generally Russian press is underrepresented on Metacritic. Currently there is only one publication from Russia taken into account – riotpixels.ru.

Kritikanstvo.ru tries to be a Russian version of Metacritic, aggregating review scores from whole host of Russian speaking media about games and movies.

Site not only calculates meta-score for games and movies, but also collects a huge database of Russian-speaking media outlets and critics, including top lists. Check, for example, their list of most trusted  reviewers.

Kritikanstvo takes into account all reviews written in Russian language, so you’ll find Russian websites along with Ukrainian and Belorussian ones.

Site is home to a blog dedicated to Russian media and drama it creates. Check out their article about first female-only gaming website kitchenriots.com (there is something about Russians and riots, definitely).

Check out Games Jam Kanobu for thriving Russian indie scene

I never knew that Russia (and of course all CIS countries) had a thriving indie scene. Even when around 500 people visited Games Night in Kyiv I thought that most of them just worked for the big guys – Wargaming, Ubisoft, Crytek, Nival.

But Oleg Chumakov proved me and other sceptics wrong. His Games Jam initiative striked right into hearts of many game developers. First Games Jam was just a test, but second one, organised with support from Kanobu.ru and Sergei Klimov gathered 420 projects in a matter of one month. You can see them here. Descriptions are in Russian, but artwork and screenshots should speak for themselves.

I’m honoured to be one of judges in Games Jam Kanobu and I’ve seen a lot of great game ideas while reviewing submissions. Hopefully at least some of those will become actual games.

Several of my favourites:

Message Quest

message quest

Inventor

inventor

Drop Hunt

drophunt

Russian parliament is inviting games industry to discuss governmental support and awards

Gadji Makhtiev, founder of Kanobu.ru, just posted this picture on twitter.

Bimr4lpCQAAUodA

Basically it says that Russian parliament is inviting Russian games industry professionals on March, 14 to talk about several topics:

1. Analyse investment climate in Russian games industry compared to other countries.

2. Discuss governmental and local investments into Russian games industry.

3. Create public panel (or committee) for investors in games industry.

4. Found an award for Russian games developers from Russian parliament’s Information Technology and Communications Committee.

Last time Russian Parliament invited press to talk about games, there happened a famous outcry from Mail.ru (known as My.com outside Russia) marketing director Mikhail Kochergin against Wargaming.net. Eventually this resulted in his termination from the company after one day of unsuccessful shenanigans.

This should be interesting.

Welcome!

For several years straight I’ve been wondering why no one really writes about Russian gaming industry in English. Then suddenly it occurred to me: maybe because no one has ever tried to?

So I’ve decided to give it a try and polish my English along the way. Hope you’ll find this blog useful.