Xsolla is pleased to publish another interview with an independent gaming company. Absolutist has been developing PC, smartphone and social games for 14 years already. Xsolla talked to Tatyana Garat, business development director at Absolutist, the future of F2P games and payment systems.
Let us start with a standard question… Please, tell us more about your company?
Absolutist was founded in 2000, and we only had 3 employees at that time. We started with casual games for PC as this market was growing fast. As our games proved popular among players, we developed mobile versions for Pocket OC and Palm and started to work on Flash games. By 2005 we grew to 60 employes.
What are your major markets as for today? In your opinion, are those F2P or Premium games that will be ruling the world in future?
We are most active on the American, European and Russian markets. Some of our games, however, have 10 localizations!
I believe that F2P will retain its leading position, however, there are always certain players who prefer Premium games. So, we are going to develop both, placing more emphasis on F2P projects. Improved availability of mobile devices will also lead to an increase in the number of players on the mobile market.
As far as we know, you have just finished a new F2P project…
Yes, that is true. The Time Gap game is currently in soft launch in Russia and Canada on iOS. This game was initially positioned as «hidden object», but it ended up featuring elements of other genres as well.
Free to play games are new to our company. Getting in this business means forgetting about regular habits. F2P games, just like children, require constant care and love. You have to dive into statistics, design, and finances. You have to be prepared to release updates and new features regularly and not to expect immediate revenue.
According to our experience, F2P games require weekly updates, new features and additional mini-games. We evaluated the efficiency of instruments regularly, help A/B testing and changed game mechanics all the time. You have to remember that F2P is not a game, rather it is a service you offer to your customers. So, you have to reward loyal customers, organize sales and promotions, introduce new features.
What payment options do you offer to your players?
We use the ones that are officially offered by Apple, Amazon and Goole Play. These key stores require a lot of time and resources. We also distribute our games through alternative stores, and in this case we use our partners’ SDK and payment options.
When choosing a payment partner, we mainly care about their coverage, integration time and, certainly, usability of the payment platform.
And what about marketing? How do you deal with it?
We use all available traffic acquisition options, including paid impressions, paid clicks, paid downloads. The best traffic we have, however, are our loyal customers that we gained organically. Depending on our objective, we review advertising instruments and their efficiency.
Basic advertising techniques are the same for all markets. Media is very important, however, only a few media channels have good conversion. Most of the time, those are news and game review websites. Corporate accounts in social networks, most likely, will not get you new users, but they will definitely turn playing users into paying ones. In any way, marketing is required to boost revenue.
Do you plan on entering the Asian market? Have you had any experience with it so far?
Yes, in fact we do plan to enter Korean market soon, and move into China and Japan afterwards. We are mainly concerned with technical support and regular updates, because Asian players are used to it and will most likely loose their interest in the game without regular content updates and RPG elements. Visual effects also play a great role in this region, so we do more than just localize the game: we change art, script and add new features that meet the expectations of Asian players.
What about PCs and consoles? Have you even considered launching a game for these platforms?
Our games have always been and will always be compatible with PCs. Our games are cross-platform and can be played on mobile devices, PCs and online.
We plan to enter the console market in 2014, too. We are determined that cross-platform products help increase revenue while remaining low-maintenance. Of course, the mobile market is the most important one for Absolutist, but others are worth it, too.