Dmitry Terekhin’s presentation at Connect Europe 2015 was chock-full of advice on how to navigate the constant changes in the mobile gaming market. In an industry with constantly evolving trends, Dmitry advises that “if you see any trends in the market, you should be fast to stick to those trends and to make it a part of your strategy”.
Dmitry Terekhin is CEO and Founder of Nekki, a mobile games company based in Moscow. The company began twelve years ago as his hobby when he started a browser-based game in the football manager genre. Later, as this hobby expanded, he turned it into a serious business. After he created a team of enthusiasts, the company grew to over 100 employees, and their games now have an audience of 200 million.
Dmitry enjoys the fun of creating games, but what excites him most about his work is the changes he can make. He says, “I love searching for improvements and making modifications in the company in strategy, management and the configuration of the team. I like promoting people, giving them new challenges and opportunities.”
When not working, Terekhin enjoys football, often playing after work on Fridays. He also enjoys traveling. Last year he was able to visit many countries; Japan was his favorite. But he insists his job is his biggest hobby.
Building on a Dream
Before founding Nekki, Dmitry was a student, learning web programming and creating websites as hobbies, including sites about Magic the Gathering, his favorite heavy metal band and football club. In this way, he gained the experience necessary to begin developing a web game. From the time he was a child, he hoped to create something vast and widely appreciated; his dream was always to make games. When he discovered the internet, he recognized the great potential it had to allow him to realize his dreams. And he continues to hope he will be able to work on something that will change the world and make people’s lives better.
Dmitry began by creating browser games and later moved to social games and finally to mobile. He found it a challenge to be open to trying new genres, so Nekki was a late adopter of both social networks and modern mobile devices. After seeing the advantages, he is no longer so conservative.
Enthusiasm and Collaboration
For members of his team, Dmitry searches for people with enthusiasm. The company name, Nekki, means enthusiasm in Japanese, and this is an attribute he considers essential. Other qualities are important in both the company and the Japanese culture. He expects team members to be polite, kind, punctual, hard-working, respectful, intelligent and to be able to collaborate well with other team members.
The most difficult people to find for the company are the game producers. To succeed as producers, they must be enthusiastic about making games, have a strong vision and be well-organized in order to work on this vision for many months or even years.
Dmitry delegates most of the day-to-day work of the company and focuses his efforts on strategy and change, so to his employees, he may appear to be the one who creates changes. Although he has found many people are reluctant to embrace change, in the end they recognize the advantages.
He admits that expanding the company from a small family-type business to a large company with rules and procedures was a difficult experience. Some of the good people were unable to adapt to the new situation, and he found it very painful to let them go.
Every successful game Nekki releases brings a feeling of pride and accomplishment to Dmitry. To date, their most successful games are Vector and Shadow Fight 2. He anticipates that the future will bring even greater accomplishments.
The games Nekki are creating are F2P, since they believe this is the way of the future. Dmitry asserts, “Modern games are more than a product, they are a service.” Their first game, a web-based football manager is still active after twelve years and people are still playing it. This game has the longevity they hope to continue with the games they are creating.
All the games Nekki produces target the male audience. When the company first started into social games, they tried creating games for girls. But they were surprised to discover with their first play tests that girls play in an entirely different way. For example, where the game developers expected the girls to train a pet to become better, instead the players were asking how to punish it for failure.
Dmitry notes that technologies in the games industry are now changing very rapidly. He expects the next development to be F2P games for consoles because consoles will become very powerful and affordable, and mobile phones may become as powerful as today’s home consoles. Using engines such as Unity, developers will be able to create AAA titles and distribute them without charge. At Nekki, they continue to work to improve the quality of their games and expect to make AAA games within three years. And this year they made the shift to developing 3D games.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.