Roman Povolotski discussed what it took to inspire community among his games’ players, and how that sense of community could be leveraged into financial success during Casual Connect Kyiv 2013.
Social networks can provide various services to engage the gamers, and in this way, increase the success of the game. At Casual Connect Kyiv, Roman Povolotski shared his experience and insight into these practices. Roman, game producer at 2realife, has an undeviating focus on games. All his time centers on game development; he claims his only other pastime is sleeping, saying, “There is so much that is interesting happening in game development right now.”
Mis-Spent Youth…or Was It?
Roman’s total focus on games began at a young age, when he was given a Nintendo. Early in the morning, he began playing, determined to save the princess, and kept playing until the game ended. He was so disappointed to find the game over that he decided to make his own games. From that point on, he was addicted. He spent years gaming, including cybersports, until he had the opportunity to begin a career in game development.
A Career That Starts with Browser Games
In 2005, Roman began his career with IT Territory as a game developer and then lead game developer, working on browser games. The most popular of these was Legend: Legacy of the Dragons. In his current position as Game Producer with 2reallife, Roman works in the middle ground between developers and investors. His objective is to build a successful future for a game with increasing monetization, retention, and other business statistics that measure the game’s success. This requires considerable research in behavioral economics, content, and currency inflation, since the longer a game is in use, the more statistical information it will generate as the players interact with it.
Three Year Success Story
Roman is currently working on two of the most massive and difficult projects of his career, learning from them every day. Working on the game The Heavens has taught him the importance of patience. He emphasizes, “The longer you are operating a game, the more time will be needed to make updates. Even if you have very high-quality features and art, you must still continue improving them or you will lose users very quickly because the market is so unstable. When The Heavens was released, social network games were just beginning, and since then, the mobile games market has grown rapidly, but users still play social games on PCs. How many social network games do you know that are still operating after three years?”
Up for a Challenge
Roman has seen many challenges in his career, but he claims, “The bigger the challenge, the more satisfaction there is when you overcome it.” He finds when 2reallife reached a new record for concurrent user sessions in one day with one of their projects to be particularly gratifying. This occurred in August 2013, after three years of operating the game. He says, “This was a hard job. There are no easy decisions when you have an online game and three years of operating it.”
Interesting Ideas are at a Premium
The greatest challenge today in the games industry, according to Roman, is the on-going need to find unique, new, interesting, and useful ideas and products, both for gamers and for the business. To meet this challenge, he believes the industry must invest more in start-ups and develop an atmosphere in which new ideas can more easily emerge. At 2realiife, they welcome each new idea and analyze whether it could become profitable for the user or the game.
In the future, Roman believes the games industry will see many new gadgets, but the most consistent characteristic will be the continuing demand for interesting games.
Community is Key to Success
Roman maintains that community is a vital part of every online game. An active community has the social units that communicate, generate retention, and spread news about new content. He believes the success of the game is very dependent on the communication between gamers inside the game. Through sharing goals, gamers gain experience working and communicating as a team. He points out, “As people solve problems together, they become a real part of the game, rather than simply using the game as entertainment. If you have a strong community, you have social assets, and you increase the retention of users because they have friends within the game.”
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.