Today during the GamesBeat Twitch livestream, Victor Kisilyi of Wargaming discussed with moderator Will Wright the success of World of Tanks and the future of gaming.
Most of the discussion was about the success of World of Tanks internationally, and how Wargaming targeted its gameplay towards their specific demographic.
Will Wright, creator of the Sims, discussed how much he enjoyed World of Tanks, summing it up as:
There is this depth to it, this craftsmanship. The accuracy of the models, the history (I can read the history about these tanks) and I can spend 15 minutes learning about these things I didn’t know, and it’s all based in reality.
Victor talked a lot about how nostalgia was a primary draw for fans of the game, likening it to childhood when young boys would make models out of planes, tanks and cars. This gets routed towards World of Tanks primary audience — middle-aged men with wives and kids.
The game is marketed towards inter-generational appeal, and to be something that fathers can play with their sons. Game time itself is modeled towards short, intense encounters for players to engage in when they have a few moments, rather than “3 hour raids.”
To create something a little less traditional..for a grown-up man who has work, he has dinner, he talks to his wife, and then he has half an hour before he goes to sleep…[Game time] is 15 minutes maximum. Our average is 5-7 minutes. You jump in, you jump out.
Victor said that a huge part of the success of World of Tanks is the way they focus on the customer experience. Wargaming has around 2,000 staff members, and while 50% or so are traditional game developers, engineers, etc, the other 50% are customer oriented people who “run the forums, people on the ground who know what players want.”
Victor credits this customer focused stance on why they have success around the world. While different cultures have to be taken into account, a lot of the same drivers are in place that convince people to participate in the game. Will Wright agreed, saying; “You have a very even distribution around the globe,” as World of Tanks has achieved international success rather than focusing in a few choice markets.
The end of the talk was mostly about the future of gaming. Victor contended that we don’t know the future of the industry. “It’s not about the platform anymore. It’s about the experience.” As Victor sees it, we don’t know if the PC is going to be a force in 2 years, or if it’s going to be replaced by the OUYA, or some fresh-new technology that hasn’t been introduced yet. But his company, and others like it, will be able to weather any technological innovation because they know how to create a gaming experience.