Victor Kislyi storms into mobile with World of Tanks: Blitz (interview)

GamesBeat: I wonder whether you’re worried at all about Cyprus right now, given its banking crisis?

Kislyi: There was a lot of outcry in the media. I should say it’s more like propaganda. It was everywhere. I think 99 percent of Americans don’t even know where Cyprus is, and all of a sudden it seemed like it was that important. It’s a geopolitical hassle, as I see it, but Wargaming is not only in Cyprus. We have 1,500 employees in 14 offices around the world. We’re very well-established and organized when it comes to our business structure and IP ownership and banking and taxation. We didn’t feel a great deal of turbulence.

GamesBeat: So you won’t be losing any personal money or the corporation’s money?

Kislyi: I was here while it was all happening, so I don’t personally have a full picture. But our administration and financial management people worked professionally to handle the situation.

wargaming dancersGamesBeat: Did you hear any flak yet about the dancers at your party?

Kislyi: No, I didn’t. Tell me about it.

GamesBeat: There’s been a lot of talk this year about fairness to women in the industry and in games. A lot of people don’t like the booth babes at E3 and so forth. There was a Twitter session a little while ago called “#1ReasonToBe,” and they had a panel on it yesterday that had some very moving talks by women game developers about how to make the industry more inclusive. Last night, then, the IGDA had a party and teamed up with Yetizen, another game incubator. They had dancers just like you had at your party, and women were saying, “This is our membership group. Why do they have to do this to entertain us?” Anyway, a couple of people have resigned from the group over it. Brenda Romero resigned. She was the head of the women’s group within the IGDA.

Kislyi: I hope they’re complaining about us too, right?

GamesBeat: I haven’t heard yet, but I’d wondered if you had heard.

Kislyi: Why are there complaints about the IGDA party and not a single one about us? Come on!

Arthur Pratapopau: Next time we have a party, I’ll make sure they complain about us.

Kislyi: Are you a feminist, Arthur?

Pratapopau: No, I’m not.

Kislyi: That’s a joke.

GamesBeat: Anyway. That’s a long story, but I wondered if you got some feedback.

Kislyi: What can I say? We have tanks!

world of warplanes 2GamesBeat: What is that there (pointing to the latest World of Warplanes demo)?

Kislyi: It’s an experimental American plane. World of Warplanes, like World of Tanks, has all the possible and imaginable aircraft, including some only-on-paper prototypes and variations. Our players are history buffs. They asked for everything from World War II. Especially the stuff from the Pacific, it will be like paradise for them. We’re not inventing anything. Everything is based on reality, either production machines or prototypes or blueprints.

GamesBeat: Who do you see as the competition these days? Is something like League of Legends your competition?

Kislyi: League of Legends may be a competitor for media attention. Who gets what world record? They have this amount of players. We have that amount of players. They have this CCU. We have that CCU. Our worldwide CCU, if you combine peak CCUs in Russia, America, China, and Korea, comes to 1.3 million. That’s a good CCU to have. Anyway, when it comes to media attention they’re natural competition.

Apart from that, I don’t believe their players are World of Tanks players. They like that kind of 45-minute twitchy match. World of Tanks is more for older players who aren’t that agile or that quick on the clicking. They appreciate a slower, more thoughtful, more strategic game with more historically accurate visuals. We’ve been around together for a couple of years now. We don’t see any big migrations from us to them or in the other direction. They have their niche of millions worldwide, and we have our own niche, which is 55 million registered users. We’re pretty happy to be there.

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