Russian giant Mail.ru Group launched My.com as a US-focused subsidiary last year, focused on offering free email and messaging apps subsidized by the revenues from free-to-play mobile games. Now the company is expanding into ‘triple-A’ PC game publishing.
My.com is announcing today at GDC that it will launch
four three free-to-play massively multiplayer online (MMO) games this year for Windows PCs. Armored Warfare is a tank combat game, Skyforge and Evolution are both RPGs, while the first to launch will be World of Speed, a social racing game with team play and auto clubs that players can join (update: My.com has clarified to us that Evolution is an iOS, not Windows, game).
Speaking to us at SXSW recently, Mail.ru Group chairman and CEO Dmitry Grishin, explained that he sees a big opportunity in massively multiplayer online games in genres such as racing where there is less competition than in the role-playing game sector.
Developing original triple-A titles specifically for the notoriously flighty free-to-play market may sound risky for My.com. While it’s an increasingly popular model in the PC gaming market, the West is fresh territory for Mail.ru Group, which is used to appealing to a Russian-speaking audience.
Still, Grishin believes that he is on the right track versus a traditional upfront payment or monthly subscription model. “In our model, everybody can play the game… fundamentally, it’s a more democratic model.”
It’s not as if Mail.ru Group doesn’t have experience in this field – gaming represented nearly a quarter of its revenue last year. Still, My.com is an unproven brand, so Grishin will have to hope that his successful Russian formula appeals to audiences further West.