Research shows that Russian gaming market has exploded in the past 2 years. Xsolla has partnered with some of the country’s biggest games and developers such as: World of Tanks, War Thunder, Infestation: Survivor Stories, Valve, and much more for several years now. We are analyzing the market to find out what trends developers might want to consider when they enter this booming market.
With a population of 144 million and steadily rising industry revenue currently at 1.1 billion, Russia’s video game market is quickly becoming the largest European market in the video game industry. Market studies have shown that Russian video game audiences mostly play F2P (32.6%), Social (29.7%), Mobile (15.6%), P2P (7.9%), and Console (6.1%) video games. These recent genres have allowed the Russian audience and revenue to grow tremendously over the past years. Xsolla’s partner World Of Tanks is one of the most recent examples of a popular F2P title, and the game has had one of its most successful launches in Russia. It seems that many consumers in the country like the F2P model, and it can be expected that games will have more financial success if they implement similar methods. This can also be seen in the mobile and social sector which usually implements payment mechanics that come from F2P.
While some may not like the F2P model it cannot be argued that it doesn’t bring certain benefits to the Russian video game industry. Piracy has been a major issue for the country, but that issue may have gone down thanks to the popularity of F2P, Mobile, and Social titles. Games in this genre offer the core experience for free; which lessens the incentive to obtain the game illegally. Outside of piracy, this is also attractive to the everyday consumer who doesn’t have the money to buy a full retail game on a regular basis. Consumers can obtain most of the experience for free, and they can pay for the rest of the game at their leisure. Usually games in this genre allow players to achieve the entire package through standard gameplay, but the consumer needs to invest a considerable amount of time into the game. While this model may be unattractive to some, that clearly isn’t the case in Russia. The Russian F2P Market is 16.6 million strong, with users paying an average of $15.79. Xsolla has also helped the convenience of paying for these transactions by offering robust payment options through our service.
The F2P Model also stays in check with the economy. While Russia may be going through an economic boom as of now, this may not be the case in the future. However, the popularity of F2P games should still stay high due to their price of admission being free. It can be expected that consumers won’t be investing as much money into the experience, but it can still hopefully be enough to keep the developers afloat. While things are looking very bright for the F2P market, the future is not so positive for the console market.
Whether or not the console market will remain popular in the country may depend on if developers are willing to adapt their experiences. Games such as Killer Instinct and the episodic titles brought by TellTale Games do a great job of offering a console experience with F2P mechanics. Killer Instinct for the Xbox One recently implemented a new way to play which might become the next biggest trend in the country. At free admission, the fighting game offers the player one fighter which rotates every month. The consumer can then decide if they want to buy certain characters, or possibly the entire game. If players eventually buy the entire game, or enough for their liking, the game then adopts the console model: You no longer need to invest money because you own the product. The price is set by how much money the consumer deems is worthy for the experience. Whether this will become the next biggest model has yet to be determined, but it just may become the best way to present console video games to the Russian market. In addition, consumers around the world may prefer this because they only have to invest the max amount of money to get the full experience (in Killer Instinct‘s case it is $40.)
Social network games are the second most popular genre in Russia, and they seem to be successful for similar reasons as F2P titles. Most of these games make profit off micro transactions, but they also use advertising to acquire some revenue. Some of the most popular social game titles are Farmville, Zuma Blitz, Candy Crush, and more.
Mobile games have become increasingly popular in the country as well; especially on android devices. Some of the biggest titles in the country are Cut The Rope, MewSim, Paradise Island, Plants vs Zombies 2, and many more. While a lot of popular games on the mobile sector use F2P pay mechanics, many titles seem to be able to survive without them due to their cheap price of admission.
The future seems to be very bright for the Russian video game industry, and hopefully developers are able to achieve financial success in the aspiring market. When looking to start development on a new game, especially F2P, developers should look at this rising industry. Many Xsolla partners have found success in the booming market, and other similar markets around the world.
More at: http://blog.xsolla.com/2014/02/13/russian-video-game-industry-2013-overview/