Earlier this week, Mail.ru and Epic Games announced they had formed a strategic partnership which would see the former putting money, as well as marketing muscle, behind developers using the latter's Unreal Engine. Mail.Ru Game Ventures director Ilya Karpinsky tells us more.
How did this deal come about?
Epic Games has a rich experience in technological aspects of games development and has already implemented lots of educational projects worldwide. We have diverse, strong analytical tools, marketing services as well as the technological infrastructure. That’s why we believe that the cooperation of MRGV’s and Epic Games’ experience, knowledge, resources gives even more than double the value for developers.
Why is Mail.Ru looking to get involved in games like this?
Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is one of the best game development tools, and it broadens game studios’ opportunities to design and build outstanding games. Thus, working with over four million of developers worldwide, Epic Games has direct access to the most talented teams. And our partnership will help us to find the ones that are interested and suitable for further collaboration with us as partners.
Mail.Ru is helping out with development funding. How is the company looking to make a return on its investment?
As a strategic investor, we are interested not solely in ROI in the short term, but in the overall effect, we’ll get when a studio partners up with MRG’s Game Division. Long-term gains and growth potential are key factors in our decisions.
What kind of projects are you looking to help fund? Smaller ones, mid-tier, triple-A… any?
Our help is available for both early-stage and small game developers with working prototypes or experienced teams that need money for scaling. Of course, in our application form, there is a question about the size of a studio. We are open to projects aimed at all platforms, all genres as we don’t believe that a genre or a platform, makes ideas good or bad. We have in-house and first-hand experience with all of these, so we can evaluate accordingly.
Could you tell us a bit about how Mai.Ru will be able to help with marketing for games?
As you may know today, Mail.Ru Group operates all three of the Russian language social networks, Vkontakte (VK), Odnoklassniki (OK) and Moi Mir (My World), instant messenger services in Russia — Agent Mail.Ru and ICQ, the world's leading email service, one of the largest portals in Russian-speaking countries, and the largest portfolio of online games. As a result, Mail.Ru Games Ventures has resources to provide developers with analytic support, marketing services, its marketing expertise and its network of experts.
Speaking of marketing expertise. Over the years, Mail.Ru Group has worked with different online game projects, within a variety of genres. Its forté and marketing expertise lies with its strategic, results-driven approach to: User Acquisition & PR strategies, Mobile marketing, Influencer Marketing and Social Media Marketing strategies.
What’s your ambition for this venture?
Mail.Ru Group is one of the biggest internet companies in Europe. We have resources, a wide range of services and cutting-edge expertise in game development. That’s why we committed to boost the market growth in Russia and around the globe. To do that, we want to support the most talented teams that have a lack of resources or experience but whose ideas and passion have a potential to influence the future of the game industry.