The increasingly global activities of My.com is changing the way its parent company, Mail.ru, is approaching the games business. According to Omer Karakayali, My.com’s senior marketing manager, the Russian company is now targeting simultaneous PC and console launches for all of its future products.
As the global publishing division of Mail.ru, My.com has the full might of arguably Russia’s biggest games company behind it. In Q2 of this year, for example, Mail.ru earned almost $90 million in revenue from online games, but the company recognises that future growth demands that it move beyond the CIS territories and the PC and mobile platforms on which that success was built.
In that sense, the last 18 months have been pivotal for Mail.ru, with My.com playing an increasingly influential role in the direction of its games business. Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz at Gamescom this year, Omer Karakayali said that the even revenue split between PC and mobile is changing, with console now a more and more important factor.
“We knew that free-to-play games can succeed if you have the right content. And we found the right content”
“Last year we launched our first game on console, SkyForge, and it is changing [the revenue split] because it was a big success for us,” he said. “It’s also changing because consoles are not as big in Moscow as they are in Europe and North America, so the launch of SkyForge gave is a boost in Western territories.
“We were not the first company to have a free-to-play success on consoles. We knew that free-to-play games can succeed if you have the right content. And we found the right content.”
A PlayStation 4 version of Armored Warfare – which was developed by Obsidian Entertainment until February 2017 – followed at the start of this year, with the Xbox One launch arriving in August. And the company’s third current-gen console game, Crytek’s Warface, has launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the last few weeks.
Slowly but surely, three of the biggest titles in Mail.ru’s free-to-play PC portfolio have made their way onto consoles worldwide via My.com. From here on, Karakayali said, the company wants to reduce the gap between launches on PC and console, and between individual console platforms.
“With every new title, we are looking at PC and console now. It’s the place we want to be in the future as well. At this moment there are no 100 per cent confirmed plans [for the next console launch], but PC and console is where we want to be.
“What we want to reach at some point is to launch simultaneously. For our previous titles, we already had them on PC, we knew that they worked, and Warface is the first time that we have launched on PlayStation and Xbox at the same time.
“With every new title, we are looking at PC and console now. It’s the place we want to be in the future”
“In the future, ideally, we would go to all platforms at the same time with a new title: PlayStation, Xbox, PC; that would be the best case for us.”
This drive toward parity between platforms is mirrored in its desire to be a more global force in the games business. “It’s what we’re doing with Warface,” Karakayali said. “We’re launching it on console globally, and launching on console is shaping how the whole company looks at games. Every console launch is a kind of global launch. We are definitely moving in that direction.”
While there are many games in Mail.ru’s portfolio that My.com could release in the future, it is also making its own products and actively seeking out new games to sign as a publisher – when asked, Karakayali said it was targeting a 50/50 split between in-house and published games.
At Gamescom, for example, it announced a deal with Intrepid Studios to publish Ashes of Creation in Europe and CIS countries. A very different prospect to SkyForge, Armored Warfare and Warface, Karakayali said that the ways in which Ashes of Creation is different are the reason My.com and Mail.ru wanted to sign the deal.
“We want to extend our portfolio with games that won’t cannibalise our other games. With this one we’re going in a different direction. We don’t have this kind of game in our portfolio.
“That was our target, especially with Ashes of Creation. I think by next year we’ll be in a good place.”