According to a new report from research firm DFC Intelligence, the Russian game market will reach $1.5 billion by 2016. The data comes from a new report on what the firm calls "the fastest growing PC online market." According to the report, "The Game Market in Russia," the market for Russian games was about $500 million in 2011, and is expected to grow at an annual rate of about 15 percent to $1.5 billion by 2016. This growth, they say, is being driven by the free-to-play model.
"Russia has historically been very interested in video games," said DFC president David Cole. "However, due to high piracy rates, the legitimate market for games has been very limited."
In Russia and other countries in Common Wealth of Independent States (CIS) region, there is also a "great deal of potential" to import games from other markets into Russia.
"Korean game publishers have enjoyed success bringing their games to Russia and the business models in Russia are closely following the business models in Korea," according to DFC Intelligence analyst Insun Yoon. "However, the region is one of a few emerging markets that has a dominant presence from local developers as well."
In addition to having its own development community, many of the more successful social games have found their popularity on Russia's social network sites like kontakte and Odnoklassniki. Of course these services don't have the reach of Facebook.
"A game like Happy Harvest from i-Jet Media can represent the success of Russia social network games in 2009. The game would be very familiar to Facebook users. The difference is it was played mainly on the Russian social network sites such as Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki," said Ms. Yoon.