We continue the mini-series of interviews within the framework of the WN Dev Contest. In them, the jury of the competition shares tips on working in the game market. This time we talked with Anton Ravin, 1C Publishing's Director of Business Development and Publishing.

Anton Ravin

App2Top.ru : Can you share what mistakes are most common for novice developers working on a single game for PC and consoles?

Anton: One of the most serious and common mistakes is to take on a project that is much larger than your previous games. This is, let's say, a universal mistake. It is performed by both small novice developers and renowned successful companies.

If we talk specifically about indie teams, then their basic problem is: they often do not understand what kind of game they are creating. They usually have neither a design document nor a systematic development plan. The team is just trying to put something together. It often ends up halfway through than with the finished product.

App2Top.ru It's good that you immediately noted that some mistakes can be made by indie teams, and others by successful companies. And let's look at marketing through this prism. How different are the approaches to promoting AA or even AAA from promoting indie? 

Anton: One of the central advantages of AA and AAA is that in order to attract an audience, it is enough for them to be based on a well-known IP, have realistic graphics and be highly polished. Plus, since such games have a large development budget, they can afford much more extensive marketing expenses compared to indie games.

Usually, this money is spent on various types of campaigns, whose nature is quite diversified, since AA and AAA are aimed at a wide audience. Such titles have the entire portfolio of paid advertising at their disposal: from TV commercials to Facebook posts, from exhibition stands at events to lighting from influencers.

App2Top.ru What about Indie?

This is generally a high-risk area: most of these games fail. Anyway, given the relatively small budgets for development and marketing, sometimes such projects can be quite profitable.

If we talk about their marketing, it is always a clear focus on creative marketing. But creative marketing is a matter of luck, because you can't be sure if your approach will work. At the same time, it does not depend on creativity: whether you are able to receive coverage for free and effectively spend small amounts on promotion.

With a small budget, it is often not possible to allocate funds so that they are enough for all activities, as well as spend enough on influencers, Facebook advertising, attending events or anything else that matters for a particular project.

Perhaps you have already established contact with the right audience, or you have the opportunity to launch a cross-campaign of the game through your other titles, arranging discounts on them. You will have to work hard here: you will need a good network of contacts and solid expertise. The advantage is that the monetary costs will be minimal.

App2Top.ru: Continuing the topic with marketing budgets. You have just noted that an indie developer relies more on his own strength when promoting. Let's imagine a scenario where he decides not to do it on his own, but to go to a famous publisher. In this case, will there be a discussion between them about how much the publisher is willing to spend on promoting the game?

Anton: Yes, the marketing budget is usually discussed during negotiations. But from my point of view, it makes no sense to reduce the deal to discussing any specific amount for marketing. I think that is the right question that a developer should ask.: how will we run a campaign for the title? There should be a realistic plan in the first place. And the budget should already proceed from this plan, and not vice versa. Everyone understands that no one is interested in spending a lot of money on things that don't make sense.

App2Top.ru Questioner: As we approach the end of the conversation, let's focus on ambitions. Developers often dream of creating a dream game, something phenomenally big (The Witcher level or The Elder Scrolls). What do publishers think about such ambitious plans? Is it worth encouraging such initiatives?

ANTON: Although I am business-oriented, I always support such aspirations for excellence and advise game developers to dream of something really big. Build a vision of your ideal game, work out its details. Are you done? It's time to break it into pieces and use it as a plan. The dream project should be very well thought out and systematized (for example, as a design document). Otherwise, it will remain unrealized.

If you take your dream very seriously, it is quite achievable. Divide it into parts and work out those of them that you can now. And, who knows, maybe in 10 years, when new technologies come, you will be able to implement what you cannot do now. Or in 20 years, the work resources you need will become more accessible. Or in 30 years you will win the lottery. After all, this is a dream game, it can take a lifetime to create.

App2Top.ru Questioner: And the last question: what type of game are you looking for in the competition?

Anton: We are looking for innovative games for PC and consoles, whose audience corresponds to ours. We specialize in strategy, role-playing games and FPS.