"It has become unprofitable for publishers to work on payment models for a prototype or bern coverage," Dmitry Yaminsky from Azur Games about the main thing for 2022

We continue the series of interviews “Results”, in which top managers and experts of the gaming industry (and related ones) tell what the last 12 months have been like for them. This time Dmitry Yaminsky, co-founder of Azur Games, shares his results.

Tell me, what was the year for you personally?

A trick question, because there are a lot of unprintable words in my head. As for everyone, the year was difficult. No one could imagine that we would be nostalgically remembering the covid times, right? A lot of nerves were spent, I had to reconsider my views, change the usual way of life. As a result, I try to concentrate on the main thing — the family and the team, in order to continue doing what we are good at.

What was the year like for the company? What have you done, implemented, and what in general would I like to highlight in terms of achievements?

The main achievement, oddly enough, is not really about business — this is the moment when the company organized itself and rallied. We have relocated a significant part of our employees, completely left the Russian market, but we had to do it earlier than planned. Many moved into the unknown, abandoned their homes, stood in traffic jams for days. For a while, we simply stopped coping with the number of organizational issues. At that moment, the whole team began to help each other — with finding housing, moving, household issues. Now, of course, mistakes have been taken into account, but not without the help of colleagues.

We also opened an office in Georgia, although we stopped by it right during the renovation. We are preparing to open new ones in other countries. In parallel, we helped with the relocation of independent studios that contacted us.

As for the figures, in the middle of the year we overcame the mark of three billion installations, and now we have more than four billion. We are waiting for a new beautiful number.

We also invested in a couple of talented mobile game development teams. This was a relatively new direction for us, but during the year the focus shifted — now we are more focused on internal products and processes.

From your point of view, what has changed in the gaming market in terms of production and distribution over the year?

Just the other day, we published market analytics, there is a graph of our eCPM and you can see that it has been growing almost continuously throughout 2021. And right in January 2022, it went down. The effectiveness of marketing has fallen, while competition has increased significantly. Now we need to take an even more careful approach to the development and selection of projects.

There are no more places in the top, and the number of GC releases for 2022 has already exceeded last year’s figures by five times. If the market is growing, it is mainly due to low-income regions, although there are forecasts for a fall at the end of the year. So the old approaches don’t work — even in the hyper-casual market, the chances of assembling a prototype that will become a hit alone over the weekend tend to zero. Now it’s weeks and months of work of the whole team.

All together leads to the fact that it often becomes unprofitable for publishers to work on models of payment for a prototype or Bern’s coverage. Priority is given to teams with a high level of development and expertise in a particular niche.

Has the practice of working with developers changed, perhaps the developers themselves, their requirements, desires, the level of proposed projects have somehow changed?

This is directly related to the question above. It becomes more difficult for singles and small teams, especially when it is not so profitable for publishers to pay for a large number of quickly written prototypes in anticipation of a hit. Against this background, the overall level of projects is growing, but now, in order to achieve the same financial indicators, much more effort is needed, including from the development side.

Systematic development in a certain direction remains a good strategy. If the team listens to the publisher and together we do several projects in the same genre, improving them from release to release, then in 100% of cases we get a positive result. Many developers understand this and begin to accumulate expertise.

Speaking about the games that game teams are developing today, are there any trends in the areas that they choose and offer?

Trends are constantly changing, even within a few months. In the fall, for example, there was a surge of puzzles, but in general, idlers show themselves very well, especially since the beginning of summer.

A competitive market forces you to closely monitor what others are doing and how players react to it. There is no point in making predictions here, you need to constantly adjust and analyze the situation.

What are the company’s plans for next year?

The most important thing now is to focus on current projects, internal processes and think about how to improve them. Therefore, we will do even better what we are already doing.

As for investments, we will continue to look for promising teams, but the priority is companies that are already earning. Trends are changing, and now it’s not so important to the market how you will grow in so many years, it’s more important how much you earn.

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