Interview with Victor Kislyi


Who is Victor? An entrepreneur or a gamer?
I am a chess player and a physicist. Obviously I am a video game player, since the late 80s I started at those semi-legal game clubs that played games on really old computers. For me, doing business is more than building your empire like in Civilization. You start small, you expand, you build cities, and before you know it you send people to Mars. Building this company came from my passion, I wanted to make games that I want to play myself.

The company is growing, how do you manage it all? Is managing Wargaming different from ten years ago than it is now?

Yes, it is certainly different. I have to teach myself now. At a certain point you have to be serious about administration, finances, legal matters and things like taxes. The most difficult thing is to manage people. You have to put the right people in the right place and structure the company in such a way that there is a right combination of global, local, products, services and administration. I spend most of my time with people. I don’t actually spend much time behind the computer except playing games. I am mainly concerned with talking, presentations, coaching, things like that. I read books and follow courses to keep myself informed. It is a non-stop drive to achieve that professionalism that is difficult to achieve. The world is changing very fast, so I have to keep up.

The Wargaming Nexus mobile branch was announced two months ago. How will it differ from the existing Wargaming Mobile?
Wargaming Nexus is divided between Eastern European cities such as Minsk. Wargaming Mobile is located in Berlin and deals with its own projects. Wargaming Nexus is looking for external projects, so people who have an idea or prototype and who show potential. They have to assess those projects and if they are approved, these people will help make their game a reality with Unreal as their main technology.

Loot boxes and micro transactions are increasingly being discussed, how do you feel about that?
If a law comes to prohibit certain things, then we must ensure that we comply. The fact is that micro transactions work pretty well. We ourselves do nothing with loot boxes. We do micro transactions to let the player save time in our games. It is just like the internet plan of a hotel. You can get free internet, but then you get a low speed. If you want more, you pay. People know what they buy, also in our games. We don’t cheat on them. Gamers are smart, you can’t sell them something they don’t appreciate. If our players see that we play dirty tricks, they will revolt. Our forum will be flooded with complaints. We have made unintended mistakes, such as the pricing of certain micro transactions, but we were told that at the time. We learn from that.

World of Tanks, World of Warplanes and World of Warships have been running successfully for some time. The player base is still great after all these years. How do you see the future of those titles?
It’s about the quality of the service. As an example: World of Tanks had about a hundred updates over nine years. Now we are releasing the Steel Hunt mode, a Battle Royale. We had once done this as an April joke, but it was very well received. So we decided to work it out further and officially bring it into the game. One of the differences is that you upgrade your tank while playing. For the rest, it has continued to innovate. New tanks are no longer that exciting, we have around a thousand in play. But more maps, game modes, competitions and the like ensure that people keep coming back. For example, we now also bring dive boats to the World of Warships, to bring more tactics to that game.

Every year on gamescom you have new experimental things to show, such as VR and AR. When will we be able to play it ourselves?VR devices are not yet part of our household. They improve VR technology, but the price remains one thing. Before we actually release something, we want a lot of potential users. VR must therefore become mainstream. Tired for AR