Roman Epishin, Chief Marketing Officer of Tanki Online, Has High Hopes for F2P Model

Q: What do you think the F2P-market will look like in 5 years?

RE: It’ll be as big as the Taj Mahal; and just as beautiful!

This week AlternativaPlatform had a quick Q&A with the Chief Marketing Officer of Tanki Online; Roman Epishin. Roman discusses the F2P model, how he entered the wonderful world that is the games industry, and offers tips to like-minded individuals trying to find a way in to the no-longer romantic entrances into video game industry. I found his views on what makes Tanki Online unique particularly interesting, arguing that its emphasis on communication and accessibility help it to stand out from the other F2P MMO shooters.

He also has high hopes for the F2P model. He considers the major game publishers recent adoption of (and interest in) F2P as a sign of its success as a business model, and thinks it will flourish in future years. However, I’m a little concerned about mainstream adoption. As Roman says, the big publishers usually turn up to these parties late – but they had a few drinks before they came, and waddle around the party making everyone laugh. Sure, the first hour or two is golden, but eventually we all get a little sick of their antics, and that can be enough to turn a party sour.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Here’s the interview in full:

Please introduce yourself. What is your job at Tanki Online?

Hi. I’m Roman Epishin, Chief Marketing Officer of Tanki Online and AlternativaPlatform.

How did you get started in the games industry?

RE: It all began back when I was a kid. I realised how amazing games were and naturally started playing constantly like a maniac! I even had some issues with my parents in my teenage years,  mainly between the ages of 13-14. They thought I played too much! And they were actually quite right considering I was into some pretty intense real-time strategy stuff back then (Total Annihilation and Earth 2150 later on). Also good first-person shooters were a passion (viva Half-Life!). I used to play all day long from 9am till 7pm without any pauses. Gaming had got under my skin and into my blood. I decided I needed to do something creative and connected with the games industry professionally to be happy in life. In my first year at college, I started as a freelance reviewer for the small and now long dead web portal. This first trial led me to a full scale career in games journalism. For eight wonderful years I was playing on PC, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii getting fairly decent money for sharing my impressions of games in major Russian language magazines and web-portals.

Eight years is a rather long time though and eventually I found myself really thirsty for some completely new experiences. So I changed sides and began to market games instead of writing reviews.

How did you get started at Tanki Online

RE: When I made the decision to change from press to game promotion, the path that led to Tanki Online turned out to be very short. AlternativaPlatform was the closest company to me with their HQ in my hometown, so they were naturally my primary and number one potential job target. It was 2010 and the studio had still been experimenting with Tanki’s balance and graphics, (though the project was already 1 year old). The company founders, (my current colleagues) interviewed me and we just seemed to click. It was a very warm experience and they offered me the job! It turned out to be quite an easy step to take for me and looking back, I definitely feel as if it has been one of the key decisions in my life so far!

What makes Tanki Online unique?

RE: Communications. Accessibility. High dynamics and deep tactical balance; it’s easy to learn, but hard to master. Of course, you may say there is nothing new in this statement, but I would argue that proportions really matter. When you can launch the game on almost any laptop, (even without a mouse!), from wherever you are, to get into a long or even short session of ultimate tank fighting happening with other players from all over the world, it makes total sense! You don’t waste your time on NPC chatting and AI mobs grinding. Right from the first minute, you are with others playing in teams or in brutal deathmatches. That’s why we mark communications as a basis for our project. We don’t just entertain our players, we help people communicate with others with whom they have common interests through entertaining activity!

What do you think the F2P-market will look like in 5 years?

RE: It’ll be as big as the Taj Mahal; and just as beautiful! The trend is obvious. Look at the major game publishers who are usually considered as late adopters of any innovation. Today they’re putting more effort than ever before into developing F2P MMO’s. F2P is evolving and moving into more of a freemium model where you can play free, buy specific content, or pay a subscription to get even more amazing content as a part of a subscription program. The other trend is for true cross-platform experiences with a mobile component. In a year or two, you’ll be playing Tanki Online on your iPad in Berlin against the guy playing it on a PC in Sao Paulo!

Can you offer any advice for Gamers who want to establish themselves in the games industry?

RE: Well, I think the romantic times are passing. Not so long ago, you could be just fascinated with games and that was enough to find your place under the gamedev sun.

Today, you need education as well as passion. Luckily, there already are educational programs out there so I would suggest the following steps:

  • Determine what you would like to do (and work out whether you’re any good at it…) for example – math, writing, painting etc.
  • Investigate which gamedev profession is the best fit for your skill set;
  • Find out how you can attain maximum knowledge and experience in this field;
  • Race like hell to make your dream a reality!

–ends—

Oh, and go show Tanki Online some love on Facebook and Twitter, or launch straight into the action from their website.

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reason4yourself
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reason4yourself

As a Tanki player I can tell you first hand that communications is a plus and minus for the game. The chat capability does allow for the occasional interesting conversation and new friendship. However, there is no such thing as private communication in Tanki. Even “team” messages are viewable by all players in whatever instance of a map you happen to be playing. There is also no way to leave messages for other friended players who are currently offline (a huge negative). Unfortunately a significant percentage of players — largely teenage and younger boys — abuse chat in a variety… Read more »

Nathan Schubert
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Nathan Schubert

There is a way to leave messages for players who are offline, you just have to use the PM system in the forum. As for the team chat being used for strategy. That is minimal because you cannot move while typing. Tanki has always encouraged clans and friends to use Skype for real strategic communication. The most you can do with the team chat is to tell your team to all use supplies at once, or to at least charge and turn the tide of battle. The solution for the abused use of the chat is more volunteer moderators and… Read more »