“The main thing that we have learned over the year: closed platform is not our format”

Hi. Maxim, get right to the point. How did you get in the team of “Vkontakte”. I was involved in “Vkontakte” for a long time, since summer 2007.

Started with support. Somehow about fifteen people found each other and organized themselves, helping users on the fan on pure altruism, just because I like it. And even then we were not asked to make us official by staff. We do not consider support as a full-time job, or heed the words of Paul that “a group of volunteers can handle support better than a few people on salary”.

And we wanted to be the group of volunteers. However, after a year and a half, at the end of 2008, something happened, and I was offered a support staff. And before the start of 2014 I worked support in various guises. Then moved to mobile gaming platform to build relationships with developers and to help them live projects on the platform.

After a few months I started to do the same even on the web platform. Once you started talking about the times support. Fun answers tech support “Vkontakte” — this is partly your doing. Who had the idea of humorit in response to strange requests?.

To the sample support “2011 — present” had a hand Durov. He laid the idea, and the General direction. What support would help everyone and make it so that everyone was jealous. There was a long selection of the most cool and talented agents, which in many ways set the tone for what the support has become. So no, not hand made.

OK, this is clear. Lets hear about our day. Your main duty is the support of key game developers for “Vkontakte”.

Wrong. I keep contact with all developers, and key, and with the community. I dont choose with whom I communicate, a small indie Studio or a major developer. Im glad all.

Well sounds all the same “key” and “key”, though, and you communicate with all. So there is still a pool of preferred. That is how to get into it and can you name examples of such studios, in order to understand that reference. The key for us, those who work with the platform, is interested for its part in its development, primarily platform releases on new projects.

They are particularly valuable for the platform because they have a dialogue, you can see it from the other side and bring us objective feedback based on your experience with it. These developers we see as among the major, well-known studios level Plarium, RJ and Games 101XP, and among small, newly established companies or single developers. Project Studio RJ Games is “Dungeons”.

With his answer you call to yourself all the developers who believe that their brilliant game dont pass the moderators, not fecerat, users of the platform pay a little, and so on. You need it. I dont urge to write, I say I can write. With the majority of developers of our web platform I talk in the club for developers.

There was a large community of developers who help each other, get acquainted and exchange experience. I read and comment when required. So what better place to exchange ideas — it club. About the “not fecerat”.

Featuring all thing is quite subjective, editorial. We are featuring, probably easier than other platforms, and we have easier to get into “New” and “editors Choice”. About the “underpaid”. We, for our part, engaged in the development of the section “Best practices”, which will be presented by examples from the best games from the platform, United by topics.

This will allow to learn best practices and proven in combat techniques, and be inspired to see the bar. Sounds interesting, when and where it can wait. “When you finish and otterstrom”.

And actually, the process is long, you need to carefully check a huge number of games on the subject of a different mechanic, to examine the statistics and understand what worked better than the rest. I think by the end of the year will be able to finish this section. You can find it in the documentation. For you probably not the news that “Vkontakte” has long been considered one of the most closed to dialogue platforms.

Simple Studio could not go on live chat. I myself remember a situation when some moderators are missing with regard to weeks, leaving unresolved issues. “Rejoice that generally answer” — looked like this. You came to the conclusion that it should not be, or what influenced the change of tactics and your appearance.

Yes, we really were a closed sect, and in many ways, this and remain. But it is obvious that this approach did not work with the launch of a new product — a mobile gaming platform, so there is a person who lays everything on the shelves. How it came to this understanding and what was the catalyst for change, I dont know, they happened to me.

In the transition to a mobile platform I was told that it is necessary to build relations with developers. I didnt mind. In General, the first reaction of many people on personal acquaintance is still almost (pokes his finger at the shoulder). “A real person from Vkontakte!”.

OK, then ponytail, please, with some General pool of issues and questions makes sense to contact a living person from “Vkontakte”. With any questions, except “Give an official comment about something” because the official comments give George ( Georgy Lubushkin, a spokesman for the network — approx. Ed.).

I can help with anything connected with the games and with the infrastructure around them. Of course, I spent more than six years in different supports, pretty good you know “Vkontakte” and in principle could explain why your group is banned or how to restore page, if youve lost your phone number and I do not remember the password but for such things is our intergalactic support, similar questions should be addressed to her. I aim at communicating with the gaming and related industries and to help in solving their problems, to blur their time to help around the site and take the job with support I dont want.

And where, tell, write. You can safely write to the post office, if you feel that requires my participation. We also have app support.

Meet all. And, by the way, most game creators and sacrament is a private club of developers, which constantly discusses pressing issues. Im a frequent visitor there in the comments. If you have the application in “Vkontakte” and you are still not a member in the community, to urgently apply.

With the responsibilities and contacts found, lets get down to vital for all developers. In “Vkontakte” now there is the concept of any Viceregal. The network itself can help in promoting the project that she liked, or it was limited to a catalog of new products.

We have the featuring, not one. The first block is “New” for, ironically, the new apps that have recently launched on the platform. The application can be submitted via the app settings by selecting the desired date. Applications can be found under block “Featured”.

The second, “editors Choice”, large banners at the top of the directory. Its featuring for high-quality and performeda application platform. Also there you can ask by writing in the app settings. In question need to explain what the game is and how good the featuring can help her. Usually we pay attention to the statistics of the game — about 10-15% refund second day, ARPU — 0,1 a month.

Note that we do not offer applications to accommodate the “New” or “editors Choice”, the initiative must come from the author of the application. The third thematic collections. We collect them independently for different holidays and events.

About parts of collections we declare in the club of developers. Also we are now considering several options forming sets “Increasingly popular” apps to the growing games that popular users, more attention was paid in the catalog. Block picering games in the “Vkontakte”.

That is not warning in advance — lost. As much as I want to enjoy the performance of your game, but if not Ill send them to you, of course with the sky did not fall. By the way, mobile platforms, things are not quite right, especially if we talk about Google Play. We, for our part, we remind app at a very prominent place in settings that do not forget about applying for placement in the “New”, but they dont write the game “Hey, would you like free traffic?”.

In the “editors Choice” game asks only. All information on this featuring there in the documentation. Ask simple. But in the selections we choose, or ask at the club developers apply.

Here is my conditional game meets the minimum requirements, but the managers called me back, no refusal, no consent, no conditions. Can I appeal directly to you and ask for at least a concrete answer. Suppose that here is what happened (you say, no longer happens, I had met). In the old days people in the know were taught to write Oleg Illarionov and ask for help with moderators.

After some internal metamorphosis, the service responded to at least clear failure. The answer is always. That is, it in principle can not be. Moderators will always take or do not take.

And since its editorial collection, we selected applications that we like. That is, everyone who wants to appear in the “editors Choice” we supply will not be able. Important note. I dont make decisions on Viceregal.

Hmm, but who decides. That is, on the one hand, your communication solution featuring go around them. The decision to accept a special featuring the moderators with a keen sense of beauty.

We constantly communicate, consult, and basically our opinions coincide, but the final decision — to bet or not — they accept. Anticipating your question — no, I will not say who these people are. Consider this the same anonymous gray cardinals, as the agents support. You all talked with them, but no idea who it was.

Okay, let the intrigue is saved. Lately a lot of rumors that “Vkontakte” to the end washes all non-advertising methods of growth. The directory gives those hundreds of thousands of downloads, which received the game in the old days, and “Viceregal as there are none”. All advertising and to recoup her problem.

Hence the rumor “In “Vkontakte” we have no money”. What to do. Lie. Dont know how.

The situation really deteriorated. As we just found out picering “Vkontakte” is. Starting the traffic and audience that can be converted into whales, you can get. However, we cant promote games for developers.

We provide many tools and are often adding new. In addition to picering, there are social mechanisms. Publishing on the wall, requests, invitations, hamantaschen mechanisms. The activity feed filled with points, levels achieved, missions accomplished.

Soon the directory will be new mechanisms for attracting and retaining players based on user activity in games. In the context of the entire platform, the number of votes that users have taken in the application, is growing every year. That is, increasing the amount of money traded on the platform.

Well, it will grow thanks to the growth of advertising investments developers. I get viral traffic — more buy — more payments done, as I try by hook or by crook to pay back the installation. But this magical “cover” is difficult to achieve. Im talking about precisely number of votes, which means users in the application.

If to speak about “difficult to recover”, I agree. This becomes more complicated globally and not just in “Vkontakte”. Every month I see news about the rising price of installs, about the rising price of acquiring a loyal user. Math free-to-play has helped understanding its developers at the dawn of the era of free games.

Users involved, paid and stayed in games for a long time because I didnt realize that the cool game is an accurate mathematical model. Now every other player (and myself, and you, probably) knows what to expect. At what point will be in which interval from the first run — a discount where the database update will become so obscenely long that it will be easier to pay.

All together it degenerates into boredom. Players better than us feel like one slip structure of the game different gameplay. Because and retaining users becomes more difficult, and the number of installations is less. Players need something fresh and not copied a million times a working model.

I see the way some good games in the updates. Increasingly sad observation. The game collects from the directory, say, 60-150 thousand downloads. Before have so many come in daily, weekly directory. Now the term week, and volumes not those.

We have a dream “the main thing is to finish the game, and where the network will pick up” for many is impossible. This is how to be. Or Im wrong and just a bad game, and thats not rushing their traffic with new products.

The platform games with the promotion (or why us fishering), and we are interested in rotation catalog. That is the goal — to attract new players and to help them find games. It needs to add traffic to the directory. But we cant promote the game for the developer. We help in this, but the main efforts lie on the shoulders of the developers, not on our.

. The drop in efficiency of the catalogue of novelties in the eyes of the platform still not a problem, but the natural consequences of its growth. Id like to answer one simple word — diversify. Dont block the “New” United app now.

In my memory there have been many changes to the catalog and advertising options games. Any ideas repel you, when making these edits. How do you evaluate the result. Are there any friendly developers who best comments on your changes affect the ecosystem.

I had not been involved in the directory changes, so I just dont know how it all worked. In the foreseeable future we have planned to redesign, because the directory maybe not drastically, but to change its appearance. Now, when we make edits, try to solve some specific problems. For example, we have simplified the visibility of the genres, back to the search bar upstairs.

This added traffic games. We talk a lot with major developers, which more often occur to us questions. In response, we ask them questions in the catalog of “Vkontakte” and work in it. Absolute synergy.

Noticed that version sometimes displays in the main picerne collection, timed to a particular event. Dont want to expand and systematize it to the scales used, say, in Google Play. Yes, we are thinking to organize a system of collections, to make it more regular and not only back-to-back selections for the holidays, but to collect them for the less obvious options.

For example, to collect games with better updates, new levels, home about animals, about the rescue princesses — and to target for an audience that love these games. Collections in the application directory. To get into such collections, it should still not click a beak and to write to you on mail before major holidays and events.

Yes, you can write. We, from its part, declare a major compilations in the club. And dont forget to simplify. Considering now the mechanism for more convenient work with the collections and on our part and on the part of developers.

The calculation of seats in the catalog of popular applications, like in the documentation (DAU and WAU to vote for a few days). Yes.

And within collections and genres as games are sorted. A place in this collection is a part of fitering or something else affected. In the manual selection of the game are sorted randomly. And if you look at the list of apps by genre and there is so.

Above shows the genre that youre interested. In block genres on the main directory, sort of almost random. The probability of hitting the first four are a bit higher for those with higher rating. But inside the genre, on a separate page, purely on the rating.

Remember when you withdrew cash rating. Cash were in the directory, removed at the end of last year. Traffic in them was generally zero, apparently, not interested in players who earn more.

We immediately began about picering, compilations and stuff. But to read something we can do, and those who are just preparing to launch. Tell us about the audience network. I recently spoke with a colleague, and he wondered where he first started. In “Vkontakte”, where the young audience or the “Classmates”, where adults aunt.

It is clear that every network is trying to say. “We not only X but also Y in the audience,” but lets calculate it for common and not devoid of reason prejudices. What is the average way of playing the user “Vkontakte”.

About the audience “Vkontakte” says the always excellent albert Usmanov ( Evangelist network — approx. Ed.). The core audience of users from 18 to 34 years. A large proportion of users between 25 and 34 years, we have more in numbers.

However, most actively in games behave for users under 18 years. This explains the wildly popular 3D-shooter, which we even brought a separate genre. Despite the problems with Chrome. Just look at the list of the most popular games on the platform. There is also “three in a row”, and strategy, and simulation games, and 3D shooters.

But in General you are not concerned about issues with Chrome such popular technologies like Unity. Probably new projects is dramatically less. Old hits, perhaps, well hold the audience, but the new app already struggle to recruit and retain. Or Im exaggerating and not all so sad.

Think of the Unity projects are doing less because of the problems with Chrome. Yes, we are concerned that games have to put the crutches and ask users to use another browser. We treat this with understanding. However, this is not a problem of “Vkontakte”, it is a global problem.

A new 3D-shooters gaining the participants even better than other projects. Popular 3D games have to motivate players to migrate from Chrome special landing pages. A little over a year ago, our program started with material about the announcement of mobile gaming platform “Vkontakte”. Tell me, what has been achieved during the year.

How many total mobile downloads platform, what is the flagship project. Maybe we will be able to identify the range of income of the top games. The main thing that we have learned over the year. A closed platform is not the format of “Vkontakte”.

We have been psychologically difficult to live with such a platform, to refuse the good games at launch for various reasons. So back in February we decided to do an open platform, discuss it with the developers began in March, but would like to tell you about it in may. Finally, in October we open it, and any developer from any part of the world will be able to launch your project and get access to a mobile audience “Vkontakte”.

For the period from July 2014 to August 2015 we have launched on the platform 13 games. In total the game has received over 23 million units. The flagship project of our platform is “earth Gems”. How and with what platform helped, it is better to ask “Nevosoft”.

Art from the game “earth Gems”. You say, 23 million are iOS and Android?. Yes, its two platforms in total.

By the way, the impression that the Android platform is not as gone as on iOS. Much less likely to see games with dice “Vkontakte” in the tops. But on iOS there are new items in the top races in the CIS. Reasons why it happened, could be many.

And private directory, and not a General interest in it, and a rare appearance of new games. In absolute figures racing on Android much more than iOS. But in Google Play the ranking depends on the races a little less radically than in the App Store, so probably the game and not familiar at the top. To promote Windows Phone developers do not plan.

Platform for Windows Phone now starts. Were the most popular app in Russia, which is growing at a huge rate, and we have been working on launching the platform. It will work on the same terms that the new mobile platform on iOS and Android.

Well, hows the selection client games, built between thematic collections. “Downloadable games for Windows” — seems so. There are only internal projects Mail.ru or a third-party developer also can go, as, indeed, in “the Game Mail.Ru”. Downloadable games — this is purely a test project with Mail.ru.

We jointly decided to try, going, and Mail.ru were willing to redo the launcher for “Vkontakte”. Plus they want to run this section of the catalog and new games, so I guess they like how everything is faring. You can get. Only if Mail.ru will release your game.

Games of other developers, we did not put and didnt put our plan. In recent times complain that it is hard to Unscrew your advertising budget. It is almost impossible to attract more than 1000 downloads per day on the game, created dozens of ads and creatives. Is you a hot question from the community.

I can only say that about such a problem we know and do ad designers. At Facebook there is a very convenient and effective managers, help with setting up advertising, a study of its effectiveness. This high-level analyst, which helps you earn more (and spend more, of course).

Dont plan something like that on their team. All “Vkontakte” build a campus in St. Petersburg, will expand the staff to 6,000 people and will become the main enterprise. So we already have a host of staff members who help with advertising and all this here here. Can help with targeted advertising, and with myTarget.

Lets digress from attracting audience and discuss statistics. Our readers in social networks were interested in the reasons why statistics “Vkontakte” is so different from the same analysts. Who to believe in the end.

Only recently found out that not always correctly processed UTM tags, and fixed it. Now should be fine. And you need to trust us. Whats your opinion in its retention statistics.

Maybe Ill tell you the details when I know details of the internal math, but not the fact. Globally, we believe rolling retention, and we believe, like the other services. Clear.

Maxim, have you, by the way, have a favorite game in “Vkontakte”. Now almost daily play in Totem Rush, “Dungeons” and “Planet”. Previously played a lot of Vector, Shadow Fight, has put a huge amount of votes in a Poker Shark. And watch a lot of games, very much of what is in the catalog.

And outside of work are playing. Everything I play is at work. For the soul I read books.

Previously, I was a big fan of Sega, Ive had consoles since I was six, probably. There have been such warm tube games like Mortal Kombat 3, Sonic, Comix Zone. On PC I always had you set different RPG (Arcanum, Diablo, Lionheart, Fallout) and all the games skateboarding series Tony Hawk. And now would gladly have spent an hour or two on any of these games.

Well and our traditional question. To what I go. Someday I hope to move closer to the center so that you can finally acquire electric skateboard Marbel type or Boosted and get to work on it.

As long as I live in the South of Petersburg, so I go to BMW.

Source: google.co.uk/blog/what-startup-consultants-can-and-can-t-do-for-your-startup/

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