Director of Business Development at Belka Games Yuri Krasilnikov said App2Top.ru what the studio has managed to do this year.
How was 2018 for you personally?
It was a year of multi-tasking and finding balance. It was necessary to learn how to properly allocate time between work and family. On the one hand, there is an activity that is high, which is a lot, and you complain that you are “blocked”, just to babble. On the other hand, my daughter recently turned one year old, and watching her grow and master new things is wildly interesting, I don’t want to miss it.
Therefore, I tried to devote time to my family, despite frequent trips somewhere for work. And thanks to my family for understanding and supporting me in every possible way. It seems to have worked out: we got out on vacation, and a lot happened at work during the year.
How was the year for your company?
A year of fulfillment of promises, conceived and huge plans for the new 365 days.
In order: I reread our conversation last year, and there I voiced that we would try to launch two projects. Done.
In the middle of summer, we released the Funky Bay farm into the world, which continues to develop iteratively and brings income.
Most recently, our new match-3 — IceCreamChallenge, which is very important as an experiment, saw the light. There is work with a new audience for us, and the introduction of “IAP plus subscriptions” monetization, and, after all, this is the company’s first game on Unity.
For 2019, I’m announcing plus one or two projects from us to release within a year. May the softlonches help us in this.
In addition, during the year we managed to fully form the development processes, as well as build a full-fledged infrastructure around the projects. I’m talking about support, community, about a significant strengthening of marketing and analytical departments.
Further. Last year we planned “almost twofold growth”. As a result, we have grown from 49 people in a year to 136! Almost three times. They grew by hiring not only individuals, but also an entire team — LedaGames.
Given the very small turnover, we can say that for Belka Games this growth is one of the main achievements for the year. At the same time, we managed to maintain efficiency, integrate new colleagues into the processes and together do both what has already been started — in particular, the “Watchmaker” — and launch new projects into production and on the market.
To be honest, earlier, when I heard “we have grown twice and it was not easy”, I thought that this was nothing more than posturing. Now I have reconsidered my position. It’s really not easy. And without preparatory work in 2017, we probably would not have coped in 2018. Here is honor and praise to both the founders and the CEO, Sasha Bogdanov — they handle the operating system very well and manage to generate ideas for new projects.
In parallel with this, we have carried out a complete rebranding of the company and are working on an HR brand. This is generally a new area for us, but the fact that employees within the company perceive it positively indicates that we are going in the right direction.
The “Watchmaker” continues to grow. This is, without modesty, a unique project that has not only improved all metrics (both product and financial), but also has the potential for growth. In the game, we have launched more than 40 events in a year, one of which is in partnership with UNICEF. The event was a charity event aimed at supporting children.
The amount that Belka Games raised for the fund
We also made a high-quality introductory video, I am glad that the players appreciated it. I am doubly pleased that the roadmap for the next six months in the “Watchmaker” is scheduled. And we have something to surprise.
The answer is voluminous, but I can’t help but mention that we moved to a new office in Minsk and we will be glad to see new colleagues there, the best in their field. For those who doubt whether it is necessary to move to Minsk, we have prepared a special video, but, in general, we are ready to consider remote cooperation for some positions.
Which event of 2018 do you consider the most important for the industry?
Definitely in the first place is the suspension of licensing of games in China. This is the main event, which is unclear how and when it will be resolved. The consequences are felt by absolutely all developers who earn at least somehow. In 2019, I hope, I will call one of the main events the successful resolution of the “Chinese crisis”, because the market is huge and many have something to bring to the court of Chinese players.
The second most important thing I will call in general “the movement from Epic”, starting from the non-release of Fortnite on Google Play and ending with the announcement of my own store.
What trends of the outgoing year would you note?
1) The trend of increased attention to the gaming industry from the states. And all over the world. Here is the fight against loot boxes, and the study of how games affect teenagers, and restrictive measures on this matter, and €50 million from the German government for the development of game development has also been squeezed in here. So there is both a positive and a negative, but even more — misunderstandings.
2) Hyper-growth of hyper-capital and overheating of the market by the struggle for players. Moreover, this year it is already possible to name four or five companies that stamp hyper-casual games, which are quite serious and with excellent earnings.
3) Continued blurring of the line between movies and games. God of War — well, interactive cinema in its purest form! Or Spider Man from Insomniac Games, where you can just sit for hours and look at New York from a skyscraper.
What are the third-party projects of this year that you liked the most?
RDR2, which I’m still going through, but which is with a truly open world, atmosphere and simulation of the principle “wrong move – and now you’re already in trouble out of the blue.” Everything is like in life — quests are generated on the go.
If we talk about mobile, then this is a game from our friends, the company Playkot, — Age of Magic.
Yes, for the second year in a row, I boldly and absolutely frankly name the game from domestic developers as favorites. Moreover, I think many people will support me in terms of choice.