The Evolution of the Russian Games Industry

According to Konstantin Popov of the Russian Association of Developers of Interactive Technology (RADIT), the Russian game industry reached $820 million last year, despite a 40 percent decline in its most profitable sector – PC games he also says that his organization is working with the Russian government to get game makers incentives and inclusion in a new tech-focused development in Moscow.

Speaking in Cologne, Germany RADIT’s Konstantin Popov said that Russian developers are slowly moving away from the traditional focus on PC games because other sectors are picking up. That PC games market had declined by 40 percent, while consoles rose by 15 percent, casual by 30 percent and mobile by 10 percent. Online gaming seemed to get the biggest bump in 2009, growing by some 70 percent. Interestingly retail sales and PC games remain the focus despite changes in sales across different platforms. Traditional Brick and mortar sales accounted for $500 million of the $820 million market value, while PC games still constitute 80 percent of the market.

Popov predicts revenues to rise from the current $225 million market value to $400 million by 2012. The casual market in particular is set for a growth spurt – from $32 million in 2009 to $42 million in 2010. Also on hand was BIart Studio’s Dmitry Lyust, who tried to explain why the country had been so reticent to move beyond PC game development – though we suspect a lot of that has to do with the widespread penetration of desktop computers in many Russian households..

"Russian branches of Microsoft and Sony didn’t provide any significant support for Russian game developers," he said. "Even now there are significant issues in obtaining licenses for Russian companies. Russian game publishers provided funding to PC projects only because there was no console market in Russian in those days."

But the real story is the Russian government may be working on a plan to add game development companies to its own silicon valley in south-west Moscow. Popov said that RADIT was working with politicians to ensure gaming played a part in the planned Russian Silicon Valley in Moscow. The area is projected to give some 30,000 to 40,000 scientists and engineers jobs researching technologies, and RADIT hopes to work that its work with the government will help create a special game industry sector in Skolkovo. Tax relief and other incentives are also on the table to entice international publishers and developers to join.

"Our president is very interested in investing in this field," said Popov. "We plan to make a real investment boom now."


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