Goodgamers.biz: Hello Mr. Kiran. You’ve been in video games industry for many years and we’d like to start the interview with a simple question. Could you please tell us more about your professional life?
Arslan Kiran: This is my 10th year in video games industry and it all started with Aeria Games. You might remember, Shaiya was one of the first MMORPGs of those Metin 2, Knight Online times and we localized it in Turkey. Then Bigpoint Games days started after I moved to Hamburg from Berlin and it took 7-8 years ’till I started working as the Head of Global Expansion for Yoozoo Games.
GG: We see some activities of Yoozoo Istanbul office in social media and there are several vacancies in job postings. What are the plans of Yoozoo Games in Istanbul for the next year here?
A.K.: Our team consists of thirteen people for now and we aim to expand in the first&second quarter of 2019. The people we need are the ones who are experienced in the field of game publishing first such as Product Manager, Community Manager, Business Development Manager and Customer Service Manager who can speak Arabic and Turkish. Next year we’d like to focus on game development, so we’ll look for the experienced game designers as well.
GG: What do you think about the potential of human resources as you need people with these skills? Can you reach easily these people that you need in Turkey?
A.K.: I can see the potential of those who are experienced in developing and producing but that’s an hassle to find them. What I mention is finding the ones especially experienced in game producing. Our development crew is situated in China and we’re having hard times while looking for talented ones who can take over the current progress there and resume in Turkey. So the reason behind this is the production of a Free-to-Play game is not a well-experienced field in Turkey. Well of course there are many game publishers but when it comes to creating and and managing everything locally, it’s a big challange.
I am aware that there are many talented people who are skilled in developing games in ATOM (Animation Technologies and Game Development Center) in Ankara and in Eskisehir; also there are many successful studios in Istanbul. I can say that connecting with those takes too much time. We’ve exported many Turkish talents to abroad by the way, I’ve seen many in game design field.
GG: What are the changes in Free-to-Play industry in Turkey in the last two years?
A.K: As a manager who has a past in Free-to-Play worked in leading PC Game and web game companies, I can easily say that browser based games almost came to an end. We didn’t have a chance to see any successful Free-to-Play games in the past two year by the local publishers or studios. So only reason lies behind this is mobile games. Developing a PC based game takes too much effort and time and so the cost is too expensive to handle. As far as I see those publishers and studios also refrain to make it. The transition to mobile is really on rise, that’s what I can say.
GG: What happens to those people who are experienced and worked in Free-to-Play industry and the trends no longer work for them?
A.K.: Anyone who can work in Free-to-Play industry can easily work in any technology field. Turning a customer into a paying user is really difficult and there any many things to handle including optimizing paying methods and localizing the whole game in the specific region. So anyone who has experienced to deal with all those can easily find a job in another business and product developing fields. More to say, anyone who experienced those in Turkey became very precious in the end.
“Turks pay as much as Italian and Spanish players do these days”
GG:What could you say about the payment habits of customers both globally and locally? What are the differences between regions?
A.K: When compared, Turkey and Asia regions have similar habits but Asians pay 10 times more when it comes to ARPU. But it’s so different when it comes Europe; Turkish customers start paying very late when compared to European ones but they pay as much as them after they become paying users.The rate of becoming a paying user is really low in Turkey.
Regarding the economical state of the countries, it has a really low effect on our industry. Free-to-Play industry is the last one to be affected when it comes to any crisis because the economical crisis is the reason of free-to play games was born. It’s been created after the economical crisis of Korea.
For example; Turkey was one of the countries which has most CCU but the players never paid anything at all in the last 10 years! But it expanded pretty well once the players gained paying habits thanks to localized payment methods. They pay as much as Italian and Spanish players do these days.
GG: Now we talk about payment methods, it has many effects on players in my opinion, the more it has many steps to complete, the more the customers suffer and are likely to give up. What do you think?
A.K.: Yes, this is really important as well, we optimized the same credit card payment method in Turkey as we did in Germany once; collecting up all the information from address to telephone number… Then we realized there were too many steps to fill up and shortened for Turkey. Guess what happened? The conversion rate increased to 80% more. Foreign companies don’t execute it well; Turkey is well-aware about this situation.
GG: What do you think about the pressure that has been created by the games like Fortnite and etc on Free-to-Play browser/client based games? How will this transition to mobile affect the f2p industry?
A.K.: The pressure is really high by the mobile companies and I could say that the top three games in this category is highly affected after PUBG and Fortnite released its mobile versions. I firmly think that Riot Games, Netmarble and Zula by Ingame group are also affected by the change. We have an internet cafe operation team and Fortnite and PUBG are the ones played by customers there. It’s really difficult to give up the game you play for players in Turkey but once they do, they do it and hardly ever play again. Games like Counter Strike, League of Legends and Wolfteam are still being played but players are also in this transition to mobile as well.
Things don’t work like this in Korea; players still play Starcraft after many years. They all return back to World of Warcraft, LoL and Starcraft after a new update is released. Transition isn’t that harsh there.
I think that the survival genre will dominate the F2P games in the next years. Cross platform; mobile and PC cooperation will continue and Turkey has a very suitable player base for survival map games. MOBA and FPS will lose its strength and RPG is already long-gone.
FPS beat RPG, MOBA beat FPS and survival genre has started to beat MOBA. Looking forward to seeing which genre will be dominating in the next years…
Survival RPG might be the one and that would be really interesting. I think any Asian company might be the lead which can expand this genre. A company from Korea or China can dominate the global and Turkey market. Game technology in its superior level is in the hands of Asia market.
GG: Is there any company you think it will be growing and expanding in different regions next year?
A.K.: I think Tamatem and Babil Games will expand in EMEA Region. They will be running into global market as Gram Games and Peak games did last year.
GG: What could you say about CPI and Average Revenue Per User/ Per Paid User in Turkey?
A.K.: Cost Per Install is around 1-1.50$. If you look for a better segment, you can pay up to 2$. It’s pretty low when compared to Europe. It’s also cheap in mobile/ casual genre; you can get it 20-30 cents and it costs 2-3$ in strategy games.
ARPPU and ARPU are increasing rapidly in Turkey. Players pay around 30-35$ in FPS&MOBA genre for f2p PC games. It’s also possible to see 45$ in RPGs.
Arslan Kiran Linkedin