"The UAE is just developing a game dev community. We are trying to help its formation," Versus.legal about the main thing for 2022

We continue to sum up the results of 2022 together with the heads of gaming companies and market experts. Next up is an interview with Alexandra Kurdyumova and Bogdan Mikhailov, Senior partner and Head of Digital at Versus.legal, respectively.

What was the year like for the company?

Alexandra: We have opened an office in Dubai and will open in Abu Dhabi in the near future; the team is distributed among Cyprus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Germany, Portugal and Russia; we have plans to open new offices; and in general, we have not only experienced organizational, emotional and technical difficulties with reforming our business, but also helped countless teams in crisis situations.

We have helped our clients a lot with foreign law issues before, and during our work we have developed a strong international network of lawyers around the world. In the perspective of five to seven years, we have been building a strategy to grow into a full-fledged international company, with offices in different countries and professional teams in each of them.

This year gave a powerful boost to our idea of internationality and turned everything around. In a year we did what we expected to do in five years: we distributed the team to different countries and began to open international offices. We started with the UAE.

Bogdan: The Emirates seriously claim to be a new international financial center, both large corporations and young companies are settling here.

The country gives the impression of one big business accelerator, the atmosphere of a startup is around: everyone is sitting in a cafe with laptops and working, someone is pitching their project to an investor, constant events and networking, and the local government is doing everything possible to make the Emirates an attractive place for business in the field of technology. A great place for lawyers specializing in working with the IT industry.

Alexandra: Thanks to the opening of an office in Dubai, we were able to find new clients, got the opportunity to be in the center of events and deal with the specifics of work on the spot. It’s one thing to correspond with representatives of government agencies, and it’s quite another to schedule a personal meeting and solve everything on the spot, which is much faster and more efficient.

Bogdan: The UAE is just developing a game dev community. We try to help its formation. For example, in autumn we organized an event on a yacht so that everyone could share their experience and feedback on their first impressions of working in the Emirates. It seems that it turned out productively, we plan to do more similar events in the future.

Since our team in Dubai is still understaffed, and there are questions about the work of local contractors, I had a chance to try myself as an event manager. I liked it, but I don’t want to do it anymore, there is enough stress in legal work.

How has the market changed directly for law firms over the year?

Alexandra: The legal market has been stormy this year. Sanctions, withdrawal of foreign clients, closure of Russian offices of foreign law firms (ilfov). Companies have been trying to figure out how to stay afloat all year. The areas of sanctions compliance, international arbitration and M&A have become very popular.

For law firms specializing in the support of high-tech companies, work in Russia, of course, has become much less. Large foreign clients no longer need legal support in Russia, and Russian businesses have emigrated abroad. Therefore, our strategy of focusing on international work for our gaming direction seems to us to be correct.

How has legal practice changed in terms of working with gaming companies over the past year?

Alexandra: Since gamedev is largely tied to working with foreign companies, companies promptly transported their assets and employees to other jurisdictions, opened new legal entities, and looked for ways that would at least preserve the existing business.

We act as a good guide for the client company. Instead of the client looking for different consultants in each country and organizing their work, he turns to us: somewhere we work ourselves, somewhere we turn to our local lawyers for help…

New jurisdictions are always a challenge: new legislation (by the way, not always available in English), different approach to work, cultural peculiarities.

Our mission has become to help gaming companies in these difficult times to maintain business and be active anywhere in the world.

Bogdan: Accordingly, it was a challenge for us. It was necessary to quickly rebuild, quickly understand the nuances of the new law and order.

In fact, our work has turned into a quest in which we need to help companies solve a large number of issues, many of which have arisen for the first time, no one has ever encountered them before, and for which it is impossible to find an answer on the surface.

Everything was complicated by the fact that the situation was constantly changing. What was relevant a month ago, it was necessary to double-check.

The international network of lawyers and partners formed by us in different jurisdictions helped a lot, as well as the cohesion and resilience of the team, ready for any challenges.

What were the most popular appeals from gaming companies?

Alexandra: The most frequent requests this year are setting up a business in another jurisdiction, moving a team (sometimes up to a hundred people), restoring order in a new structure (to understand what relations between companies in the group, what financial flows, how to build corporate governance, etc.).

Previously, many had a fairly simple corporate structure. As a result of all the actions, by the end of the year, many gaming businesses had a large number of legal entities in different countries, which led to obvious questions: which company should have an IP address, where it is better to keep developers, which company should publish the game, how to build intra-group relations, how not to lose too much on taxes, etc.

Bogdan: Of course, the classic requests did not disappear, we continued to help with Terms of Use and Privacy, conducted investment transactions, registered trademarks, advised on NFT, GameFi and other relevant topics.

What are the company’s plans for next year?

Alexandra: We will keep the course on international representation, help with issues in new jurisdictions, because the main difficulties are now connected with this.

We want to be closer to our customers. We will gather international teams. We plan to open offices in the main popular jurisdictions for game development: we are thinking about Cyprus, Serbia, Portugal.

Moreover, we are in the process of expanding the product line. The plans include the development of financial and business consulting, assistance with business administration and much more.

We have a lot of interesting tasks and challenges ahead, and we are confidently looking to 2023.

Write a comment...
Related news