Director Mail.Ru Games Ventures Ilya Karpinsky shared with how the year went for MRGV and the Gaming direction Mail.Ru Group (for example, Hustle Castle gained an audience of 30 million).

Ilya KarpinskyHow was 2018 for you personally?

There was a lot of work that is primarily related to MRGV. Over the past year, we have significantly strengthened our team, and as a result, several new studios have appeared in our portfolio, including such teams as Zillion Whales, Mobilate, Red Brix Wall and Game Garden.

In addition, this year we have set ourselves the task of creating for our partners not just an investment support system, but an entire ecosystem that will contribute to the development of studios and their projects. To do this, we started holding special educational meetups dedicated to various aspects of game creation. Marketing and game design meetings have already been held. We also organize master classes with our partners, representatives of other gaming companies and platforms.

At the same time, we actively developed cooperation with technology companies and signed partnership agreements with Epic Games and Unity. In general, the year was quite busy and productive.

How was the year for your company?

For the Game direction Mail.Ru Group year was also quite dynamic. We continued to grow and launched several new projects. So, this year we presented the console version of the online shooter Warface on PS4 and Xbox One, released a new game – Pathfinder: Kingmaker, on which our studio Owlcat Games worked together with Chris Avellone (Christopher Avellone). In addition, our mobile game Hustle Castle from the studio Nord has shown excellent results – in almost a year the number of registered users in this project has exceeded the mark of 30 million.

Hustle Castle
We also started developing a unique ecosystem within the Gaming industry, which combined our games and gaming services (Lootdog, DonationAlerts, etc.). Our strategic goal today is to become a company that offers gamers everything they need within a single gaming platform.

I hope that next year we will make some important announcements on this topic.

What event of 2018 do you consider the most important for the industry?

Now many large gaming companies are starting to create unified gaming platforms where developers can publish their projects. For example, Epic Games Store. Or in Battle.Net projects have been added to Blizzard ‘s own games Activision — what wasn’t there before. If we talk about mobile games, then here we can recall the case with the release Fortnite bypassing the Google Play store. We can say that this year the rules of the game, which have been working for many years, began to change in the market. I will be watching with great interest how Google Play and the App Store will transform in the current situation, and how other gaming companies will integrate into the changing reality.

What trends of the outgoing year would you note?

I would single out the development of the Hyper Casual genre and the spread of the advertising model of monetization of mobile games. However, I am most pleased with the fact that more and more non-core investors have begun to allocate funding to gaming companies and, in general, treat the gaming industry with great confidence. Of course, this is due to the rapid growth of the games market. I’m not just talking about the stories of tinyBuild and Epic Games right now. Many specialized funds (the same Makers Fund) had quite a lot of deals this year. I hope the trend will continue to develop next year.

What are the third-party projects of this year that you liked the most?

I liked the case of the game Fortnite, which was released bypassing Google Play. For Epic Games, this was a bold step, with which it, in fact, challenged the existing rules of the game in the distribution market. The second project that I would mention is the Nintendo Switch, which has become the fastest—selling console in several countries. Nintendo was able to make consoles a portable platform that can now be taken everywhere with you — just like a mobile phone.