Free tank game makes millions per month

A free online tank game might not sound impressive, but Wargaming.Net supports some 20 million registered users for millions of dollars of income per month.

World of Tanks has been going for only 16 months, launching first in Russia before expanding into China and then North America and Europe in 2011.

Company CEO Victor Kislyi told GamesIndustry International that around 6.5 million players log on regularly across Russia, North America and Europe.

Adding Chinese figures to that gives an estimated 8 million global regulars, which may go some way to explain the "double digit" millions in profit that Wargaming is managing to turn over each month.

So how does a free, full-on PC game become such a money spinner?

"We are in a luxury position to have war machines, vehicles, that are culturally and historically acceptable" explains Kislyi.

Where other military war games -- such as Arma 2 (of which there is a free-to-play version) and the traditionally priced Battlefield 3 -- add planes, boats and tanks to infantry warfare, World of Tanks finds strength in restricting itself to mobile armor in all kinds of national flavors.

But the company doesn't take that cultural relevance for granted, and ensure that they have local people on the ground to deal with customer issues as they arise, rather than insisting on more cumbersome, centralized model.

"It has to be cultural, it has to be local, we have to have local people answering tickets, handling money issues, running the community."

And if the game's free, why would people pay? Partly because there's a tournament system that encourages keen players to upgrade their in-game vehicles. Partly, as Kislyi puts it, "because people love the game."

Games Industry International article: gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-03-19-world-of-tanks-monthly-profits-hitting-double-digit-millions
World of Tanks website: worldoftanks.com

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