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Cyprus gains momentum as a gaming jurisdiction: GDEV leads the way

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Cyprus has emerged as a thriving hub for video game developers and tech innovators, drawing in global gaming companies owing to its skilled workforce and creative environment.

In this context, GDEV, a key player in the industry, has made significant strides from its inception to becoming a major multinational entity.

Renowned as the sole Cypriot firm listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, GDEV recently rebranded from Nexters, marking a pivotal moment in its evolution.

The company operates through multiple subsidiaries, crafting engaging games that captivate millions of players worldwide.

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GDEV CEO Andrey Fadeev

GDEV boasts a lineup of award-winning franchises like Hero Wars, Island Questaway, Pixel Gun 3D, and Throne Rush, accumulating hundreds of millions of installations globally, notably in the US.

The company’s journey began in 2010 when founders Andrey Fadeev and Boris Gertsovskiy crossed paths.

Initially, Fadeev, who is the company’s current CEO, managed a social games development studio, Progrestar, while Gertsovskiy envisioned launching his game business.

Within four years, Nexters emerged, gaining rapid momentum, especially following the success of its breakout title, Hero Wars.

However, it was the strategic shift to mobile in 2018 that propelled the company’s growth.

Since then, Nexters has expanded its player base, revenue, and workforce, now comprising over 700 professionals, predominantly located in Cyprus.

Reflecting on GDEV’s trajectory, Fadeev told UK-based Business Focus, a publication specialising in country profiles that “Hero Wars was more than just a hit; it represented relentless hard work. It’s been a mobile RPG title dominating top charts for over seven years.”

“In 2019, we ranked among Europe’s top 10 independent mobile game developers, reaching the top five the following year. Over a third of our revenue originates from the US. Our player base had neared 100 million by then, showcasing solid stability and growth,” he added.

Moreover, he explained that the turning point came in 2021 with the company’s Nasdaq listing, making GDEV the only Cypriot company listed on the exchange and the sole European gaming entity with shares there.

“That same year, we launched two new games and initiated negotiations for a substantial acquisition,” he stated.

He continued by saying that “this culminated in a $100 million acquisition deal in 2022, including Pixel Gun 3D, a game wildly popular among US teenagers”.

“This acquisition marked a significant milestone for us, with almost 200 million installations,” he added.

Furthermore, Fadeev attributed the company’s success not only to talent and ambition but also to Cyprus’ conducive business environment.

Recognising Cyprus’ transformation into a tech and gaming hotspot, he lauds its solid infrastructure, tax benefits, and supportive climate as catalysts for growth.

The low-tax regime, including a 2.5 per cent corporate income tax, proves pivotal for game developers and entrepreneurs, fostering an environment where creativity flourishes.

“This didn’t happen by accident, but was helped by the country’s solid working infrastructure, effective tax management, stable economic climate and minimal government interference,” he said.

“Modern entrepreneurs feel empowered here: they have what they need to make things happen, and the game development community in Cyprus has grown large and is still expanding as companies continue to relocate high-class specialists to the region,” he added.

Despite global disruptions, including geopolitical tensions and market upheavals stemming from the conflict in Ukraine, GDEV’s resilience shone.

Moreover, despite relocation efforts and substantial changes, the company achieved record revenues of $480 million in 2022, a testament to its adaptability and determination.

Looking ahead, he explained that GDEV is now focused on diversifying its portfolio and expanding franchises while eyeing new platforms and media.

The US market remains a priority, aiming to enhance its presence through strategic execution and partnerships.

GDEV’s CEO also acknowledged the dynamic nature of the gaming industry, emphasising the importance of adaptability and learning, where Cyprus’ adaptive nature aligns well.

Additionally, Cyprus’ commitment to attracting top talent aligns with GDEV’s strategy. The company is keenly focused on using cutting-edge technologies like AI for automation while actively contributing expertise to Cyprus’ burgeoning tech market.

Finally, reflecting on the journey, the CEO encourages pursuing passion and dedication, affirming GDEV’s commitment to thriving through dedication, innovation, and belief in the evolving technological landscape.

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