Games could use a boost, and now the Russians are coming. Moscow-based Internet communications firm Mail.Ru Group is announcing that it has set up a $100 million investment division to invest in games and developers. The investment amount is the largest one from Russia to support the game industry, and it will invest in game companies there as well as the rest of the world.
Mail.Ru will finance “accomplished game studios and publishers” who need funding for scaling as well as young game developers. The division will employ a variety of investment strategies, including royalty investments. That means that it could invest in individual games, financing the money upfront and receiving payments in the form of royalties after the product ships.
“Games remain one of Mail.Ru Group’s top priorities. We believe that combined development in that sector offers significant opportunities, both through internal game development and through M&A. Starting a games investment fund will expand the potential of Mail.Ru Group’s investment platform,” said Boris Dobrodeev, CEO (Russia) of Mail.Ru Group, in a statement.
Mail.Ru will also offer global publishing.
“With this fund, we aim to discover and develop promising games on the global market, and drive international expansion of the local products,” said Ilya Karpinsky, managing partner for the fund, in a statement. “Not only will the fund offer financing to the teams, it will also help them develop their businesses, particularly by providing access to Mail.Ru Group’s internal resources and services. The companies will be able to get all-round support, leverage our software solutions, extensive analytics and unique marketing opportunities on a global scale.”
Mail.Ru Group said that its games business is the leader in the Eastern European online entertainment market and the largest Russian developer of mobile and massively multiplayer online games in Russian and the global market. The company’s portfolio includes more than 50 games with the total audience of more than 100 million users all over the world.
In fiscal year 2016, the company’s massively multiplayer online (MMO) games revenue grew 21.2 percent to $201.7 million. Mail.Ru Group is the largest Internet business in Russia, based on mobile daily audience. The company owns Russia’s leading email service and one of Russia’s largest internet portals, Mail.Ru.