Russian government to support $820m games industry

Market moving away from PC games and to online, as government seeks to establish Moscow Silicon Valley

The Russia and CIS games market is growing rapidly reaching a record value of $820 million last year, according to the Russian Association of Developers of Interactive Technology (RADIT).

Speaking in Cologne today, RADIT's Konstantin Popov noted that the country's developers were now moving away from their traditional focus on PC games. That market had declined by 40 per cent, while consoles had risen by 15 per cent, casual by 30 per cent and mobile by 10 per cent.

Online had grown by some 70 per cent, with Popov predicting revenues to rise from the current $225 million to $400 million by 2012. The casual market was expected to grow from $32m in 2009 to $42m in 2010.

However, at present retail and PC remained dominant. Brick and mortar sales accounted for $500 million of the total $820 million market value, while PC games still constitute 80 per cent of the market.

BIart Studio's Dmitry Lyust offered some thoughts on why the country had been so slow to move to console and online gaming. "Russian branches of Microsoft and Sony didn't provide any significant support for Russian game developers," he said. "Even now there are significant issues in obtaining licenses for Russian companies. Russian game publishers provided funding to PC projects only because there was no console market in Russian in those days."

The pair felt this was changing, but that casual, social and massively multi-player games would be a bigger market than either console or PC. However, the West was not necessarily paying attention.

Noting that Russia's leading social network Vkontakte enjoyed 75 million users and more than 3300 apps but Facebook in that territory had just 1 million users, Popov lamented that "the main social game companies are still not present on the Russian networks."

Online gaming in Russian constituted 3% of the global market he claimed, and had grown 66 per cent in 2009. Client-based MMOs, including World of Warcraft, had grown by 102 per cent.

Multi-platform engines and tools were helping Russian game developers to be competitive on the international playing field, argued Lyust. "The Russian game development industry has a second breath now."

The government was supporting the industry's growth, claimed Popov. RADIT was working with politicians to ensure gaming played a part in the planned Russian Silicon Valley, south-west of Moscow.

The area is intended to employ some 30,000 to 40,000 scientists and engineers investigating future technologies, and RADIT hopes to create a special game industry sector in Skolkovo. Tax relief and other incentives will be provided in order to lure international publishers and developers to it.

"Our president is very interested in investing in this field," he said. "We plan to make a real investment boom now."

Latest comments (8)

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 8 years ago
You hear that Number 10?
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heheh. i was there at the conference. No10 is on holiday. Cleggs in charge atm :0
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Claire Blackshaw Senior Online Consultant, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe8 years ago
What ever happened to the government which pushed the BBC Micro and ushered in a new digital age in Britain? I mean seriously how much has the country profited from that early investment, we are still reaping the rewards from that to some extent.
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Show all comments (8)
the current government has only one motto and creed mfraid: Slash!
Starring Osborne, Directed by Clegg and Produced by Cameron with added extras
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 8 years ago
I know Dr. Wong, he's happily marching around in charge for the time being before he becomes a footrest again. ;P

And that is our government nicely put.
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We need ian livingstone pairing up with gary gygax for choose your own game developer adventure quest meets government resurrection!
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Russell Watson Senior Designer, Born Ready Games8 years ago
We will not be getting funding any time soon, the film council is being axed. And the film industry is one that our media ministers loves cosying up to and rubbing shoulders with.
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Actually, we just need a good UK wide alliance with Europe links, Games brand awareness (that game can be highly informative eg. civilization, facilitate imagination in creative industry (eg. D&D tabletop), promote a strong curiosity for life/history/contemporary (whereby a game/interactive media inspires the participant to explore real life alternatives eg. da vinci code, avatar, where in carmen santiago), have direct education simulation (for future astronauts/troops/explorers - NASA MMO) and so forth.

Games. Are the future interactive media.
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