— What it looked like product section with Wargaming?
— First of all, it was necessary to work with employees, convey to everyone the idea that they are safe, jobs are saved, Lesta Games will continue work. Therefore, we focused on internal communication.
Already later we began to develop a strategy for the development of companies. How Lesta Games will exist in the Russian and Belarusian markets, what will be the business model, how many specialists and new infrastructure will be required for the existence of products.
It was not a trivial task, because for all During the years of the company’s existence, no one even thought to prepare for such a scenario. By mutual agreement, we still have St. Petersburg, Moscow and Minsk offices and minimal infrastructure.
— How were the product licenses divided?
—But we did not separate them. Here, to begin with, we need to explain how Lesta and Wargaming worked until spring. We were a structure of Wargaming, which was responsible only for product development. The rights to them were transferred to the parent company, that is, the games never belonged to us. Now we have registered our own trademarks “World of Tanks”, “World of Ships” and Tanks Blitz, offered players from the Russian Federation and Belarus a choice between Wargaming servers and our projects.
— Are these markets enough for development?
— At the moment, they have enough revenue to cover the costs of supporting and developing current projects. And of course, we are planning further development, but there are still a lot of variables.
— What is the annual revenue from the World of Ships?
— According to internal forecasts, World of Ships will bring in approximately 15-20% of revenue this year through the purchase of premium accounts and in-game currency by players. The core of the audience is men aged 35–40.
— Together with the World of Tanks, this is about 1.1 billion rubles.
— No, according to my modest estimates, this figure will be 10-12 times higher. We must not forget that the audience of “tanks” has historically been more than “ship” in Russia and Belarus. In addition, we have not two, but three products. Tanks Blitz makes a significant contribution to the group’s income.
— How difficult is it to change business processes so that from a company that was engaged only in product development, to become an independent developer and game publisher?
— It’s difficult, but realistic. Many publishing and marketing processes have to be built independently. The standard mechanisms that previously allowed publishers and developers to reach the audience do not work.
We have lost the ability to buy ads on Google and YouTube, we cannot fully work with Twitch. Definitely, we will cooperate with Russian counterparts in advertising or go to other channels. That is, those times when World of Tanks ads were played on TV channels may return. Another problem is the recruitment and cultivation of specialists. And now I’m not just talking about game designers, artists and developers: there is a need for marketers, managers and other specialists.
— So far, the differences between World of Tanks and World of Tanks can be traced only in the title. How will you further develop these products?
—Now the differences are minimal: there is an intermediate stage of separation. During the separation, we had some time to grow a staff of new employees, update the infrastructure and generally debug internal processes in companies.
In the future, we will begin to develop World of Tanks and World of Ships ‘ on your way. That is, there will be updates with content that will interest the Russian and Belarusian audience, their own calendar events, and so on. As soon as we get back on our feet with our current franchises, we will start developing new products. Plans to experiment with new online games are already in place.