The head of the VKontakte gaming platform Maxim Babichev said how was the current year for him and the company.

Maxim BabichevHow was 2018 for you personally?

First you see prospects and opportunities, and then they take away all your strength and free time. It was a year of focus-seeking.

Last year, when I wrote the results, I was not only the head of the VKontakte gaming platform, but also an executive producer at MRGV. Now, again, like the last 10 years, I work only in VKontakte. And I’m very happy about it, because I was able to find my focus.

The decision to leave was personal and rather difficult, but it is impossible to perform two completely diverse jobs qualitatively. From this, the brain explodes, everything falls out of your hands, you lose the balance of power and burn out. Don’t make my mistake: feel free to cut off what overloads you.

Overall, the year was busy, but I managed to balance between work and family. Top 3 events for the year:

  • a trip to the west coast of the USA with my wife;
  • holidays in Cyprus with the whole family;
  • Eminem’s concert in Stockholm.

How was the year for your company?

When you sum up the results every year, I want to tell you that we planned a lot, maybe we were even too ambitious, but in the end the whole team put a lot of effort and coped. And you know, this year it was like that. The gaming platform has grown on all fronts, and today we have an understanding of what to do next, there is a strategy and a plan.

This year, all departments of the platform have done a cool job: development has filed a bunch of space tools and features, bizdev has risen to a radically new level, the catalog editors have carefully worked out the location of each game in the catalog, the recommendation team has created nuclear algorithms that will be fully fired up next year.

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

The phenomenon of hyperkezhual. Moreover, the phenomenon of such games leaves more questions than answers. For example, is hyper—casual about gameplay or a behavioral trend? That is, is hyperkejual so successful because of the original mechanics, cool production and cheap advertising, or because players don’t want to delve into complex mechanics and want pure gameplay, nothing else? I don’t have an answer. And you?

What trends of the outgoing year would you note?

That’s why it’s difficult to name trends. This year, many similar topics have been raised several times, but for some reason there is no feeling that they have set a trend. Independence from monopolist stores, esports (sometimes even mobile), gambling with loot boxes, “games are to blame for everything” – all this was inside the agenda, determined it, but it did not become the only beacon to which everyone rushed.

Probably the only thing that I really liked and what I would like to develop is the trend for books. Several respected people in the industry have written impressive talmuds this year, let this trend develop further.

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

In the spring of this year, which is quite late, I got to Horizon Zero Dawn and went through it from cover to cover. At some point I tried to play other games and I didn’t like them all: then the gameplay is not the same, then the story seems meager. But then there was a game where my progress today is 94% and there is very little left until the end. A cool story, great physics, a city worked out to the limit (I found almost all the places I once walked in). So Spider-Man is my choice.