Interview with Playrix

The history of the Playrix company began in 2002, when two brothers – one a student, the other still a schoolboy – developed their first mini-game during the last month of the summer holidays; in 2004 they already founded their own company. Playrix gained worldwide fame as developers of high-quality downloadable casual games. Now the company is actively developing in the mobile direction. Igor Bukhman, co-founder and president of Playrix products, told us about what exactly they are doing.

What mobile platforms do you have games on?On iOS – about 10 games for iPad and two for iPhone, plus we have already ported two games to Android, but have not yet released.

I’m talking about those projects where we ourselves act as a publisher.

We are seriously adapting games for each device, so even those games that are presented on different platforms and devices are, in fact, different developments made at different times. We try to make the most of all the features of the devices.

That is, do you port yourself and act as a publisher yourself?Absolutely right.

How long does the port take?We’ve been doing it for a very long time.

Despite the fact that the engine has already been adapted to the whole thing. That is, we take the downloadable version and port it to our own engine – it turns out from 6 months to a year.

Why is it taking so long?That’s a good question!

  =) A few points. Firstly, our games are quite voluminous, compared to many others. Secondly, we are not just making a port – we are, in fact, creating special versions, adapting, and it happens that we have to redo a lot.

What are the specifics of iOS games compared to downloadable ones?Firstly, it is clear that the technical part must be adapted to the devices; secondly, we add various marketing elements – this often takes a lot of time; as for the gameplay itself, it also sometimes has to be changed.

For example, we are now going to release the game “In 80 days around the world” – we have changed it quite a lot. For example, in the downloadable version, you can’t change the chips at the same time, the field is blocked – in the iOS version, we removed this, made non-blocking gameplay and added passing levels to the stars. Plus, this can be shared on social networks.

Do you do localizations?We have a lot of localizations, about 10, – we try to release i-games in the same languages as the PC.

Previously, they came out late, now we are trying at the same time.

As a percentage of the profit from different countries? Russian App Store, for example?We have never worked with an emphasis on the Russian market – this is the specifics of our development.

Therefore, the Russian store does not bring any tangible income, and our positions there are about the same as in other countries. The American App Store, I think, brings in about half of the revenue.

In Germany, for example, we are doing better in terms of positions than in other countries. And sometimes it happens that the German version brings even more money, but usually it’s temporary. I don’t know what this is connected with =)

How do you prepare the game for launch? Do you have a special department for this?Well, a large department is probably not needed here.

You just need to know what to do.  The main thing is that the game is ready. If there is a great game, then the launch will be successful. Well, of course, if Apple cares, we need to do some necessary press releases, reviews … cross-promotion inside our games again. Of course, there are still tricks – social chips, rate us, you can play with the price. In my opinion, this is the main thing. Although, perhaps, some stages are already so familiar to us that they do not seem to me something special – for example, it is clear that we need to make the right icon so that it fits the game as logically as possible and looks good.  But we don’t have any special expert on icons – we have a lot of development experience, we just feel how it should be.

The biggest achievements?We were in the top five of the US Top Grossing for iPad – the game Call of Atlantis HD.

Which monetization method do you think is the best?We came to the conclusion that it is most profitable to first launch a free lite version with the ability to buy the game through in-app.

And after how long does the paid version appear separately?

We tried it in different ways, but when launching the last game, for example, the paid version appeared after 2 weeks. We liked the result.

What do you recommend to other developers?

I don’t even know… make good games! 

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