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Wargaming: Creating immersive AAA gaming experiences

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Wargaming is an international video game developer and publisher founded in 1998 and headquartered in Nicosia

“We are a team of 3500+ talented professionals working from 16 different offices including Chicago, Prague, Shanghai, Tokyo, Vilnius, and Kyiv. Our flagship franchises – World of Tanks and World of Warships – are available on all major platforms and are enjoyed by millions worldwide. Our passion is to create immersive AAA gaming experiences and have them running for decades,” Valentinos Polykarpou General Manager, Executive Director Global HR Operations & Services, Wargaming Group Ltd said.

As an award-winning online game developer and publisher, how does your organisation offer authentic gaming experiences and services across PC, console, and mobile platforms?
“Wargaming’s products offer a unique and balanced mix of historical accuracy, action-packed gameplay, and fun. We also provide comprehensive services, including technical support, content localisation, payment processing, and organising offline events and player gatherings. Regular updates introducing new modes and features help us maintain a long-lasting relationship with our audience.”

How important is customer centricity, especially in the digital era?
“Customer centricity is key at Wargaming. Our guiding principle is that the player is our foremost priority. Firstly, all our games are free-to-play, making them accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a suitable device. Secondly, we uphold a fair approach where in-game purchases do not provide a battle advantage, a policy highly valued by our players. Thirdly, we’ve established an effective system for engaging with our audience. This includes inviting players to early testing phases of new content and features, gathering their feedback, and implementing changes accordingly. Understanding and addressing our players’ needs and concerns is very important to us.”

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This year, Wargaming Forge, the talent development programme of Wargaming, launched a new discipline available for internships. How does this provide a rare opportunity for those looking to break into the gaming industry?
“Wargaming Forge plays a crucial role in nurturing junior Game Development talent within our company, with a focus on locations such as Prague, Vilnius, Nicosia, and Belgrade. We offer a range of paid internships and complementary courses across various disciplines. These include artistic areas like 2D and 3D Art, Visual Effects, and Motion Design, as well as technical fields such as Software Engineering, Front-End Engineering, and Unreal Engine development.

“Launched in 2017, the programme has seen over 200 graduates become Wargaming employees. We aim to expand the range of internships further, providing participants with a unique opportunity to acquire practical experience and detailed insights into game development.”

In August, the company also celebrated its 25th anniversary. What, in your opinion, has been the key to your success?
“Our journey to success has spanned 25 years, with the first 13 years involving intense effort and perseverance before the breakthrough with World of Tanks, followed by another 12 years of growth to reach our current position. I believe three elements are crucial: innovative ideas, a team of talented and passionate individuals, and robust technology. When these three elements are combined with relentless hard work, the likelihood of success increases significantly.”

Sustainability holds the opportunity to transform the gaming sector into one that contributes towards making the world a better place. What does sustainability in gaming look like?
“Sustainability in the video gaming industry envisions a future where games not only entertain but also contribute positively to society and the environment. This concept extends to social responsibility, encompassing fair labour practices. At Wargaming, we are committed to ensuring safe working conditions for our game developers, addressing challenges like crunch culture and excessive overtime, and promoting diversity and inclusivity within our development teams.

“Furthermore, we recognise the significance of educational initiatives in shaping the future of the video gaming sector. Through our collaboration with universities and offering internship programmes and online courses, we aim to integrate environmental and social considerations into video game development, operations, and player engagement. Our goal is to make a positive impact on the industry’s development by educating and nurturing young talent.”

Do you believe Cyprus provides a nurturing environment for innovation companies and startups? If so, what are the benefits? Are there any areas that need improvement?
“Cyprus indeed offers a conducive environment for innovation companies and startups. In recent years, the influx of diverse talent and a growing entrepreneurial spirit have significantly enriched the island’s technology and innovation landscape.

“Cyprus’ strategic geographical location provides unique market access and multicultural insights. Coupled with its favorable tax incentives and a supportive regulatory framework, Cyprus stands out as an appealing destination for technology companies and startups.

“However, a notable challenge is the limited local talent pool, particularly in specialized technology sectors. As a country with one of the EU’s lowest proportions of STEM graduates, Cyprus should prioritise enhancing STEM education and attracting international talent to address this shortfall.

“Moreover, while the startup ecosystem is progressing, there is a need for more structured mentorship and networking platforms to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration between startups and established tech firms.

“Further support for startups could include funding opportunities, incubator programmes, and the development of technology parks, providing necessary infrastructure and resources.”

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Can you tell us about some of the initiatives your organisation has undertaken to support philanthropic/humanitarian causes?
“As a video gaming company, our primary focus is on creating enjoyable and engaging experiences for our players. However, Wargaming is also deeply committed to social responsibility and actively participates in humanitarian and charitable activities. A notable instance is our support for Ukraine, where we have a significant office presence in Kyiv. Since the onset of the conflict, Wargaming, along with our employees and players, has been actively raising funds. These funds have been instrumental in aiding those affected by the war, supplying necessary medical equipment, ambulances, and gear for rescue operations.

“Additionally, when a severe wildfire struck Hawaii in August, we contributed through the Maui Support Fund, providing essential disaster relief to the impacted communities.

“Our long-standing partnership with War Child, spanning over a decade, is another testament to our commitment to humanitarian causes.

“In line with our respect for history, we have consistently supported museums. Our initiatives range from establishing an educational centre at the Bovington Tank Museum to conducting fundraising campaigns for naval museums worldwide and participating in various restoration projects.”

What are your plans for the future?
“Our strategy is to continue leading in the vehicle shooter genre. With flagship titles like World of Tanks and World of Warships, we’ve created gaming experiences that have the lasting appeal of mainstream sports such as football or tennis, where players continually engage and return. Our primary focus will be on enhancing these existing games by introducing new content, features, and partnerships. We believe this approach is the best strategy for maintaining player satisfaction.

“In addition to enhancing our existing game lineup, we are excited to be working on two new, ambitious AAA projects. These ventures represent significant additions to our offerings, and within the next year or two, you can expect to see groundbreaking new releases from us.”

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