We continue to summarize the results of 2021 together with top managers and experts of the gaming industry (and related ones). Next up is an interview with Pavel Epishin, the head of Yandex.Games.

How did 2021 go for the company?

2021 can definitely be called a successful year for Yandex.Games, since our platform has shown significant growth. And immediately on a number of indicators.

Firstly, the number of games included in our catalog has exceeded 7000 — for comparison, there were 3000 of them in the previous year. Every week we added about 50 new games. In many ways, we managed to achieve this amount due to the fact that the functionality of the service has expanded, and developers have more opportunities for development and promotion.

The second achievement of Yandex.Games is the growth of traffic and improvement of monetization methods. Our audience exceeded 11 million people per month, and users spent quite a lot of time on the platform.

And the third thing I would like to note, and without which it would be difficult to keep the audience, is to improve the quality of the games themselves. In part, this was helped by users who rated games and wrote reviews about what should be added or corrected. Thanks to them, developers collected useful feedback. Sometimes we saw that whole correspondence was tied up. We also attracted foreign developers who adapted their already popular games into Russian.

We have been actively working to ensure that our platform has both unique content and everything that users have long been accustomed to and take for granted. At the same time, we tried to present familiar things in a new way. For example, we have a portal currency “Yang” — it can be spent in any game from our catalog. Every week we gave users “Yana” absolutely for free.

What event or trend of 2021 do you consider central within your niche?

The main factor that everyone had to reckon with was the pandemic. It continued to significantly influence the development of the gaming market, and many companies had to think about how to attract new users and not lose existing ones. When we were just faced with self-isolation and remoteness, even those people who had not previously considered themselves gamers began to play. The audience itself went to new platforms, and companies reported on the growth of traffic. You don’t have to wait for such an influx anymore — everyone who wanted to has already joined.

Although the overall gaming activity in the industry is no longer growing so intensively, Yandex.Games has increased both in terms of audience and playing time in 2021 — the figures for 2020 were more than doubled. This was also facilitated by the fact that web games are not tied to a specific device like a laptop. There are a lot of entry points in Yandex.Games, and among the games themselves are quite short and with fast loading. The user can start playing on the way to work in the subway and complete the level in a few minutes. It’s convenient, and we see that the players come back to us again and again. I think that now in the direction of web games (including mobile ones), even those who are used to other platforms should take a look.

What will be the stake in the development of the company in 2022?

In the fall, we noticed an organic and rather large increase in traffic from abroad. Today, about 10% of the Yandex.Games audience consists of foreign players from Turkey, Germany, the USA, Canada and other countries. This is quite a large share, and in the near future we will develop this direction.

We see that foreign players like slightly different games than Russian users. Abroad, shooters, action games and battle royales are played more. We will work on their specifics separately, improve attraction and monetization in different countries. We are already cooperating with foreign developers, now we will try to make friends with the players. If you are interested in distributing your web game abroad, create an account in our admin panel and post it there. Our automatic system of personal recommendations of games will offer it to those players who previously liked something similar.

We will be glad to have new partners in the Russian market. This fall, we talked about ourselves for the first time at the DevGAMM and White Nights conferences, inviting everyone to post games on our platform. The niche of web games is still greatly underestimated – this is a promising direction, relatively inexpensive and allows you to pump your product well. And it doesn’t matter who your target audience is, because our algorithms are able to attract the right people. Come, we will try to find it for you!