Facebook’s Codorniou: Russia’s mobile game advance “is virtually a tsunami”
Facebook has augmented its base of mobile game developers by a hearty 17 times over the past six months, and the social network spends “more time with app developers in Russia than in any other country,” said Julien Codorniou, the head of partnerships at Facebook EMEA (Emerging Markets in Europe and Asia).
In an exchange with RIA Novosti this past Tuesday, Codorniou drew attention to the substantial progress he claims has been made in tapping into Russians’ game developing expertise since Mark Zuckerberg’s visit to Moscow last October.
Facebook users across the globe have enjoyed new games originating from Russia, and learned new names such as Social Quantum, Game Insight, and Playrix. Others, like Crazy Panda, are on their way to recognition, the executive thinks.
Just six months ago, Social Quantum was nowhere to be seen among Facebook game suppliers, Codorniou said. Today, it is a leader on the network, with its city-building simulation Megapolis being the twelfth highest grossing game for iPhones in the US App Store as of April 17.
Facebook doesn’t seek exclusive rights for running a game, and developers can feature their products on other social networks as well, the Facebook exec emphasized. He believes, however, that Facebook’s worldwide distribution puts it far ahead of local Russian-language competitors such as Vkontakte (Vk.com) and Odnoklassniki, Russia’s two top social networks.
As an example, he cited the Megapolis game that had first launched on Vkontakte three years ago. It wasn’t until after it came to Facebook and mobile platforms six months ago that the app started racking up lively download dynamics, with “99% of [the game’s current] users outside Russia.”
Out of the $2 billion Facebook paid last year for new games, Russian developers’ share “was not big,” Codorniou said, adding that he was expecting that share to “grow considerably” within the next six months. He believes that there’s a strong likelihood that “one or two Russian developers will join the top five” group of the best-paid companies.
Facebook’s Russia and EMEA game platform has been growing at a “superfast” rate, he said. If six months ago the Facebook exec talked about the “stepping up” of its development in Russia, now “it’s virtually a tsunami.” He looks forward to new Russian games “in the days and weeks to come.”