VK Play: "Now the traffic source is not important — the commission is uniform and applicable to any game"

Yesterday VK announced a change in the commission policy of the VK Play platform, whose store component is the Russian equivalent of Steam. Now developers can count on 95% of the sales of games hosted on the site. We talked in detail about the nuances of the initiative with Rodion Kotelnikov, CTO VK Play.

Alexander Semenov, App2Top.ru Questioner: Let’s start with this. I understand correctly that VK Play is not a new service. This is the renamed My.Games Store. And more recently, even the installation distribution had this name. Why did you need a story with a brand change? Or should we wait for renaming My.Games?

Rodion Kotelnikov, CTO VK Play

Rodion Kotelnikov, CTO VK Play: VK Play is not a store or a brand change, but a separate product. VK Play is a new platform that combines several entities at once: a catalog of games (store component), cloud gaming, streams, esports and gaming media.

When creating VK Play, we used technologies and solutions that have already shown their effectiveness and were loved by Russian users. In the future, we plan to integrate functionality with which it will be possible to communicate with each other by voice. The task of VK Play is to make the gamer’s life as comfortable as possible by combining all gaming services in a single point.

Home VK Play

OK, well, a separate product. Anyway, the main reason for our conversation today is a serious change in the commission policy. Previously, it was 30% for the store component, but from July 1 it will be 5% for some teams and products. Is this formulation correct?

Rodion: That’s right, now the commission is 5% for all teams and products, including those whose games we already have in the catalog, not only for beginners. We understand that it is very important now to support developers and offer the most comfortable conditions for them.

The initiative, let’s say, has four points to which there are questions. Let’s go through each of them.

a. The press release mentions that the 5% commission applies to “new projects without an established audience.” Without an audience, how much is it? When will it be possible to assume that the audience has formed?

Rodion: Previously, we had two types of commissions — a base of 30% and 5% for projects that want and can bring the audience to the games from external sites themselves. Now we have brought all types of commission to a common denominator and made it uniform for everyone, including for products that are already in our catalog. Now it’s just 5%.

b. It is also stated that the policy applies only to “projects whose developers independently bring users into the game.” What if the traffic is mixed? Or if you see that the game has a good conversion rate and share the feature?

Rodion: Actually, no, so for some reason it was perceived by some media. As I said, now the source of traffic is not important — the commission is uniform and applicable to any game. Previously, we had an approach — a 30% commission from our traffic, from what the developer leads himself — 5%, that is, 5% is available from any traffic. At the same time, the ability to create links in the developer’s office to track the performance of different traffic channels, of course, remained. You can bring traffic yourself, work with influencers, and so on.

Considering the 5% commission and the fact that there are no additional payments for CDN for distribution of distributions, for hosting for the game site, it turns out that it is even more profitable to publish with us than to make your own game site and put a payment card on it, which in any case will need to pay a commission in the area of the same 5%, and you will have to pay for everything else separately.

c. It is also mentioned that 5% will receive “desktop versions of mobile games (provided that their IAP revenue from the platform is less than 15% of the total from all platforms)“. Is it about revenue from total revenue in Russia or in the world? How will you count it?

Rodion: No, it was about something else here. On VK Play, we are considering not only PC projects, but also mobile ones that we can help port to PC. On average, the ported version brings up to 15% of revenue to the entire project — and a 5% commission also applies to such games.

d. Does this practice apply to games with advertising monetization?

Rodion: Yes, games with advertising monetization are a new direction for us and there may be technical rough edges, but the approach to the commission is the same. We are interested in developing this direction and we welcome interesting experiments and suggestions from partners.

It is reported that when any project is initially placed on the platform, it is provided with up to 350 thousand impressions. Impressions where? And which ones? And to whom? Won’t there be situations when the premium game banner is shown in the section with browsers and vice versa?

Rodion: We are part of the VK ecosystem, within which there are many products. When we feature the game, its banners can be displayed, including on the resources that are part of VK, but this is already a “production mode“. When we are talking about 350 thousand impressions at the very beginning of the game placement, here we are talking directly only about the game store itself, that is, we are working with a focused gaming audience. Our task is to find the audience segments that respond best to the game, to measure the performance of the game in stable conditions in which we can compare it with other games. We have no task to wind up fake impressions — it’s not interesting to anyone, there is a task to objectively understand the prospects of the product.

Section with free games on VK Play

You say that these impressions will help determine the volume of further features. What is the maximum free traffic a project can get?

Rodion: Tens of millions of impressions. If the game performs well, we ourselves are primarily interested in developing and supporting it, it is important for us to give the audience interesting content for it. In this case, the feature is not limited to some kind of display limit or time limit – if the game is interesting, then we support it as long as it will be interesting to the players.

In March, we talked with you about the fact that the audience of the platform reached 13 million after the February events. What’s today?

Rodion: We are staying at this level and at the same time we see growth on a number of projects, take at least “Allods“, where the growth is a multiple. We also just held an esports VK Play Cup tournament on the Warface game, which significantly affected the audience metrics. At the same time, seasonality should also be taken into account — in summer, gaming activity is traditionally lower. We are waiting for a new impulse in September, when we will prepare the base for a full-fledged release and begin our external activities.

At the same time, you voiced that 95% of the platform’s users play freeplay titles. Has something changed? Has the share of premium game lovers increased?

Rodion: A lot of developers have started coming to us who are looking for new sources of audience and monetization in Russia — in recent months the number of developers has increased by 45%. The games themselves began to be added much more actively, including premium games. A lot of indies also started coming to us, we have never had such a flow. We are actively working to make it interesting for players to work with us, and for developers to be comfortable working with us.

Now there is information about successful premium cases on the platform. Given, in particular, One Day More. What is success for a premium title on VK Play? What sales can a premium game expect from you?

Rodion: The guys from One Day More are cool and we are glad that we are cooperating. They are very pleased that it was easy to connect and with minimal costs, while they got the opportunity to get a quick feedback from users and debug the game before the global launch. Even their foreign publisher approved this initiative, because they got a better game at the exit and this did not block distribution on other sites in any way. For us, premium games are a long-term story, and we see one of the points of our growth here.

One Day More

On Steam, GOG, Epic Store, there is a significant rotation on the main page all the time. Features are given to AAA novelties, and under them are tops of high-quality novelties. This allows you to monitor the market situation. With VK Play, everything is different in this regard. The main feature is occupied with long—released VK projects, below them is a grid of recommended projects, where projects from VK are also mostly. The user has no motivation to visit the main store every day. As for the developer, it may seem to him that his audience is not there, and even if there is, then the projects of the site owner, his project will not be noticed. Do you see this as a problem and if so, how will it be solved?

Rodion: We are waiting for all the developers on the site, and AAA-novelties, of course, too. Moreover, we will definitely not offend them with traffic. As for the rotation of games, we do not divide games into “ours” and “not ours”. If the project is interesting to the audience, it immediately gets into rotation and we are happy to start its feathering. We are primarily interested in having as many games as possible in our catalog that will be of interest to our audience. Therefore, come to us with interesting projects, we will be glad to see everyone!

Write a comment...
Related news