Wargaming has launched a new publishing label, Wargaming Alliance, designed to help game developers tap into its massive free-to-play audience across World of Tanks, World of Warplanes and World of Warships. The company has enlisted publisher Sega and developer Creative Assembly for its first Wargaming Alliance deal, which focuses on Total War: Arena.
Vladimir Makarychev, head of Wargaming Alliance, told [a]listdaily that the label is dedicated to providing third-party publishers and developers the tools, resources and platform to enter the highly competitive free-to-play gaming market along with access to Wargaming’s substantial subscriber base of over 100 million gamers.
“To make our players happy, we have to constantly offer new gaming experiences or new game content,” Makarychev said. “If we don’t, existing games can become a monotonous grind. With no variation, players don’t get the satisfaction they expect, and generally lose their loyalty to the company and the product. On the one hand, we are actively working on the development of our existing games and systematically bringing to market new projects. On the other, this is not enough, because 100 million people constantly demand new entertainment and new games.”
Makarychev said Wargaming Alliance is one of the solutions to this problem. This division was created to meet this player need by publishing new online projects developed by strong game studios and providing high-quality support to their audience anywhere in the world. “Our partners will learn a lot from us, and we’ll learn from our partners,” Makarychev said. “It works out in everyone’s best interests, especially the players.”
Total War: Arena builds on the strategic game design from Sega and Creative Assembly’s bestselling franchise and adds free-to-play gameplay with 10-vs.-10 player battles.
Tim Heaton, studio director at Creative Assembly, said, “For more than a decade, the Total War franchise has been the standard-bearer of strategy gaming thanks to its trademark gameplay and a focus on authenticity. The free-to-play market is an exciting new opportunity for the franchise and in the last year, we have seen great potential with Total War: Arena.”
Additionally, president and COO at Sega Europe, Jurgen Post, said Sega is constantly exploring ways in which its diverse range of IPs can be brought to a wider gaming audience.
“We have gained great, and I would even say unique, experience in publishing free-to-play online games on a global scale,” Makarychev said. “We’re happy to share this expertise with our partners, as it will help significantly increase their chances for success for any game. This includes engaging our best publishing professionals from all the regions we operate in, as well as providing all the tools needed for effective game publishing (i.e. publishing platform), giving access to a 100-million-strong global Wargaming community and allowing them to reach a diverse partnership network in each region.”
While Total War: Arena is a perfect match for Wargaming’s war-themed strategy game audience, Makarychev doesn’t want to focus on a single genre with future deals.
“The range of opportunities is staggering, and we will eagerly evaluate all of them, but our priority will be given to games close to Wargaming’s DNA,” Makarychev said. “Let’s put it this way: we are ready to operate a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game, unless there’s a military first-person shooter project standing near, given the projects are similar in other crucial parameters and both are developed by great, well-experienced teams.”
Wargaming Alliance would like to work mainly with free-to-play games, but they are open to operating any other genre. Makarychev said the most important goal is that any collaboration must be beneficial to the three parties: the developer, the publisher, and—most importantly—the player.
“We are not striving to operate dozens of games simultaneously,” Makarychev said. “We have absolutely no desire to turn into an assembly line, cranking out projects one by one. That approach leads to a loss of quality—and quality loss, inevitably, [leads to] losing the loyalty of our players.”
The plan is for Wargaming Alliance to start small with the initial launch of Total War: Arena and then gradually grow its publishing label. “Total War: Arena is going to be a test case, and the game’s success will be the main indicator of our capabilities,” Makarychev said.