Interview with Janna Goranskaya, Platform Development Director
Tiếng Việt | 한국어 | 日本語 | 简体中文 | Русский
Janna Goranskaya: “The fundamental difference of The Abyss — not to sell as many games as possible but to provide the most comfortable experience for players and developers by building truly One Stop Place for MMO games.”
The Abyss continues publishing interviews to introduce core team members, giving you an idea of what they do and who they are. In the interview below we introduce Janna Goranskaya, Platform Development Director.
Q: Janna, what did you do before the project?
Janna Goranskaya: I’ve been working in video games industry for almost 20 years at various companies and fields — marketing, brand/product management, business development and PR. Previously to joining The Abyss I was creating a game platform as a Head of Games Division of major Russian internet company Rambler.
I had an idea to create a single platform for MMOs for years. And when Vladimir Kurochkin, the president of The Abyss, told me the concept, I realized, that guys are trying to implement something quite similar, but yet more ambitious. So, here we are bringing the best of our experience and vision to build truly One Stop Place for MMO games.
Q: What is really cool about The Abyss? What are the main features?
J.G.: First of all, referral system: each gamer, who starts playing on the platform, becomes a participant of the referral program, he/she can invite his/her friends and receive awards for all their transactions. If your referral invites friends too, they become your 2nd level referrals, and you also receive awards for their payments. There are 5 levels of the referral system in total and the platform spends ⅓ of a revenue on its maintenance. The referral system brings income both to a developer, who brought gamers to the platform and to gamers themselves.
Secondly, infrastructure for comfortable gaming experience — all services will be on the platform, no need to attach anything manually or additionally download.
Q: What makes The Abyss different from its competitors?
J.G.: Let’s agree on terminology — The Abyss is not a store, it’s a global operating platform. The purpose of a store — to sell as many units of goods to each particular gamer as possible, this is why stores have a neverending carousel of new releases and sales. Store doesn’t care either gamer plays a game for years or the game was ever launched. That is the fundamental difference of our platform — we want gamers not just buy games but to play them and play for a long time. This is why The Abyss will provide a number of built-in services for comfortable gaming experience.
If you look at the market of client-based PC MMOs, you may notice that today developers have depressingly few distribution options. Most of them are forced to give their games to publishers (and to watch how publishers take a lion’s share of a revenue). If developer decides to distribute game independently, then there’s no other options than notorious stores.
The major publishers develop their own marketplaces — Origin from Electronic Arts, Battle.net from Blizzard, etc., but these are isolated systems where side-developers are not welcome.
That’s where we see our main task — to create a platform, specifically designed for multiplayer games, where developers will be able to control their games and to receive a significant part of income.
LTV (lifetime value) and retention are crucial for MMO games, because monetization is based on in-game purchases. Developers admit that operating MMO games on currently popular stores is inefficient and The Abyss aims at solving this issue.
Q: What does the platform offer to developers?
J.G.: Developers are very precise people. They need good financial conditions, traffic and convenience of operation. Besides, they are often ready to sacrifice the third point for the sake of the first two. Therefore, we have several proposals that may be of interest for them.
Let us begin with the most important — financial conditions. We offer traditional revenue share system 30/70, but at the same time ⅓ of The Abyss share goes to maintenance of the referral program. For example, the share of payments by gamers, who are developer’s referrals, will be 74%, plus additional payments from gamers’ referrals (70% in traditional currency and 4% by tokens from referral system). Next, when a gamer leaves project and starts playing another game on the platform, a developer continues to receive all gamer’s referral fees (and percentage of all transactions in his/her referral network).
We believe it is fair. Because it’s the game of this particular developer brought new users to the platform. Hardly any platform provides an opportunity to monetize gamers who left the game. Thanks to this system, it will be beneficial for developers to recommend The Abyss as the main platform for their game.
Q: These days a lot of developers say that they don’t understand why are they paying 30% to the platform. Like, opaque conditions, extremely limited possibilities of a game operation. Did The Abyss team thought through a strategy in this regard?
J.G.: We are ready to provide each project with guarantees on traffic. We have a marketing budget and we intend to spend it not on a branded platform advertising but on an advertising of a particular game, placed on the platform. Of course, everything depends on the conditions of cooperation: if we believe in the project, if the developer is ready to launch it on The Abyss earlier than in other stores, we are ready to consider all conditions: advance payments, guaranteed volume of marketing investment, etc. Herewith, we will never strictly demand an exclusive: the developers must decide for themselves what to do with their games.
And the most important thing for us: we want to make comfortable and easy for operating platform. For integration to occupy minimum of time and effort. For developers to see in their cabinet all necessary analytics. For them to be able to buy more traffic for their games from the platform. We will strive to make the platform the most comfortable place to operate.
Q: Let’s discuss the gamer’s perspective. Why a gamer will come to your platform?
J.G.: Hardcore MMO-gamers are forced to use additional services while playing. Aside from voice communication, they use DKP-systems, DPS-trackers, guild websites and forums. We want to build-in these services into the platform. For guilds to be able to receive a convenient tool for management, treasury conducting, DKP registration and holding of auctions at the platform level. We also plan to accommodate a dynamic download into the games, for gamers to be able to start playing as quickly as possible, without waiting for the full installation of a client. Many of these functions exist as individual services, and we are negotiating with them, offering integration on the platform.
And, of course, the referral program. It doesn’t mean you should spam your referral link in the social media. You can build your referral network by various methods, and one of them is to make content for your favourite game. Look at the videos of popular game-bloggers — most of them use referral links from CPA-networks and thus monetize their content. On The Abyss platform any streamer or blogger can create his/her own referral network and earn with it for a long time, until the gamers he/she brought stay on the platform.
Q: Why was the cryptocurrency needed in the store?
J.G.: The idea of having an internal currency on a platform is not new, and it’s been actively used by many game platforms and internet-stores. The single currency is needed for many things: you can give awards for completed tasks, bonus to the first payment or award for watched video. The platform even can pay gamers compensations for technical issues or in case the game is closed.
But its main purpose — referral network service. Imagine now, is it possible to implement such system without internal currency? And what kind of cash flow contracts you need to complete? And on what basis to make payments to developers? And how to declare the income received for referral fees? In this regard, it is easier to work with internal currency. And the fact that ABYSS token is already listed on many exchanges only adds extra interest.
Token utilizitaion is also a tool for boosting user’s lifetime value: gamer has an opportunity for additional in-platform dealing.
Q: Will the need to work with tokens be a high entry barrier for the target audience?
J.G.: For the majority of our users The Abyss will be just a gaming platform, and the ABYSS tokens will be just bonuses, which they can spend in game. Thus, an entry barrier will be the same as in any other game: register and play. For those gamers unfamiliar with cryptocurrencies acquiring and using tokens will be really simple — one can earn ABYSS tokens inviting friends to the referral network. All the referral payouts will be in tokens even if the initial purchase was made with fiat money.
Q: When is the launch of the platform is scheduled?
J.G.: The platform will be launched in the Q1 2019. After the launch on English-speaking territories we will move towards Asia: we already have a very big percentage of gamers from Asia among our first users — Vietnam, Japan, South Korea. You can download an alpha-version — our browser game MusicWars is connected in a test mode. Most of the functions are not there, but the referral system already works (and will stay there after the release of the platform), and all in-game purchases can be paid with ABYSS tokens.