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Russian gaming is more than just World of Tanks and shady markets for Steam keys.

Developer Nekki announced today that its games have surpassed 250 million installs worldwide. This makes the Moscow-based company the second largest publisher of games in Russia, according to market-intelligence firm AppAnnie. The studio is now working on Vector 2, which is a sequel to its popular parkour running game, and Nekki is expecting this will lead its charge to the next 250 million downloads. Globally, gaming on mobile devices has grown into a $30 billion business, and this creates a market where companies like Nekki can generate serious levels of revenue from one or two massive hits.

And the company has had two successful games over the last few years on mobile devices as well as social platforms and browsers. Its Shadow Fight 2 action game and the original Vector each have reached more than 80 million installs worldwide, and Nekki has learned a lot from making those two games that it plans to roll into Vector 2.

One of the more notable additions to Shadow Fight 2 and Vector that helped with their success was the developer’s inclusion of push notifications through Tapjoy’s technology platform. Tapjoy is a company that helps studios generate revenue from their games, and it recently improved its notification system to help target specific kinds of players. Using this, Nekki noted that it was able to lift the average revenue it made from its daily active players by 46 percent, and it saw retention grow by 23 percent among dormant gamers.


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At the same time, Nekki notes that it doesn’t want notifications or anything else about its games to seem too aggressive.

“We feel that the current state of free-to-play games is somewhat broken,” Nekki chief executive Dmitry Terekhin told GamesBeat. “And we are working hard to fix it.”

Terekhin argues that mobile games are too “in your face” about trying to separate the player from their money.

“[And that] annoys the user,” he said. “Many other [games] are unbalanced in favor of paying users over non-spenders. Free-to-play games must be fair, honest, and balanced, and they must be able to be enjoyed by paying and free players alike. That is our goal with Vector 2, as with all of the games in our portfolio, and we hope to see more developers move in this direction.”

While that sounds like a developer saying what gamers want to hear, the company is obviously on to something. Nekki claims it hasn’t spent a lot on user acquisition, and it credits its success to “word of mouth” hype from its players.

If it can recapture that level of engagement from its fans when Vector 2 debuts later this year on iOS and Android, then one day reaching half a billion installs probably isn’t out of the question.

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