Victor Kislyi on Wargaming's business, team, graphics and plans

Victor Kislyi on Wargaming's business, team, graphics and plans

On entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship for me is to create something big and bright that people need. This may be a product or a service. It should be beautiful, convenient, and bring obvious benefits. Wargaming works in the entertainment field, and in our case, the computer game should be beautiful, exciting and should develop some skills - in the case of World of Tanks it's about teamwork on the battlefield, the ability to think strategically and cooperate.

How to manage company with over 2,500 staff

Our Chief Strategy Officer is Matthew Haradon. We invited him to us from the New York Times, one of the largest and most successful newspapers not only in America but also in the world. In addition, Matthew also teaches at the university and he saw many different companies in his life.

He says while the company has not yet grown to 2,500 employees, it is possible to manage it based on personal charisma, family or start-up values, to be constantly aware of what is happening in different divisions.

But as the number of people grows and exceeds 2,500 one's charisma will not work as a management tool. Other management principles are required.

Probably, we have been fed up with the notion of "corporate governance", but there is no alternative to it at some stage on the way.

I'm talking about a board of directors managing a team of top managers who are in charge of very large areas, and they do not do anything by their own hands. Below them are people (if the company is big) who do not do anything with their own hands either, but are responsible for directions that are slightly smaller in the framework of some great direction. And maybe the third or the fourth level are people who do something with their own hands.

Mistakes in game dev

Mistakes in the gaming industry, unfortunately, are expensive and very painful. And the task of the leader today is to competently balance between delegation and mentoring and certain cooperation in order to minimize the risk of mistakes.

Multinational team

The main governing body of Wargaming employs a Finn, a Korean, a Greek, a couple of Russians, Belarusians, a German, a British citizen and Americans. We have a kind of melting-pot of cultures. And they are all so enthusiastic! But we need this national, cultural diversity, because we manufacture and distribute our games literally all over the world. Different people bring to the team knowledge of different territories, where our consumers live and our developers work.

For the manager, this means more communication. It is ongoing work with the team. Imagine me writing a strategy for a company and start implementing it. Then people in the team will say: "Wait, you did not consult with us. This will not work here and that will not work there..." Therefore, one should not be lazy to communicate with people, discuss the strategy, important points. Every conversation should be specific, you need to look at the numbers, the graphics, understand in each case the subject of the conversation.

Euphoria and pessimists

The first month of World of Tanks' success in the Russian market was a period of a certain euphoria. Fortunately, our company employs various people, including "pessimists" or, as they call themselves, realists. I do not belong to them, but we need these people, too. These people spoil the party saying something like: "Wait, wait, what if it's just a surge due to novelty? Wait, okay, Russia is good, but what if it does not work in the West? Wait, but if the fashion for tanks will soon end?" This is what they say and we do need these opinions too.

Is Wargaming no more a young company?

There is no law about the withering of a company if you act correctly. I believe there is no universal power that would lead a company from youth to withering. If you are a CEO, a member of the board of directors, you and your team make that very universal force that moves the company to the left, right, up, down, to America, Russia, China, etc.

Yeah, when success comes, there is a certain euphoria, a temptation to sit down in large leather armchairs, smoke an expensive cigar and drink a martini. Naturally, this is the way to nowhere. Just do not do this and that's it! Be in the saddle, be on a horse with a saber!

Know what's going on, keep the team, update it if necessary, follow the market trends, talk to employees, talk to consumers. I very often meet with players, with videoblogers who have millions of audiences. If you watch video blogs, read the press, collect information from players, conduct surveys, then your consumers will tell you where your company is going, sometimes better than your financial director, for example.

How business can develop an ecosystem in Belarus

I think that this is possible through the creation of incubators. I remember how I started business in the bedroom 20 years ago... The entrepreneurial initiative very often comes from young people, students who, by definition, do not have an extra million in their pocket. Therefore, incubators is infrastructure in the form of premises, computers, the Internet, some kind of financial assistance - this is important. And, of course, there should be mentoring, conferences, training, and a library in incubators. All these things accumulate in one place, and in terms of one participant it costs almost nothing, but these places give birth to businesses that grow and earn millions.

About the Future of Wargaming

It's actually simple - we make games, online, shareware, free games, and we have to make these games a hobby for people and for ourselves.

I myself play computer games on average seven hours a week... To create a hobby, you need to be a very advanced company. This means ideas, being creative, this means art, experiments… Plus you insure that your products remain in the market.

We are now working hard to update the graphics of World of Tanks. I recommend everyone who played before and has not followed the updates to check our news. We’re creating real Hollywood there!

Source: video