Towards the end of last month, we covered the announcement that Mail.ru, the parent company of My.com, would be retiring both brands in video games and creating MY.GAMES. Not only does the group have its own host of internal developers, as well as partners developing their own titles that the company publishes, it also has it's own investment arm called MRGV.
In an interview that I had a few weeks ago with the managing director of MY.GAMES, Elena Gigoryan, to be published later today, I asked a question that could almost seem prophetic in light of recent news:
Chris: Moving back to my previous question on publishing. While you will understandably be continuing in which has made you grow already, will you also be looking at publishing one-hit traditional titles, such as indie projects or larger-budget Titles?
So what's the news? MY.GAMES have launched MY.STUDIO through their investment arm with the aim of financing the founding of a new studio and development of MY.GAMES first ever AAA shooter. "As well as financing the project, MY.GAMES will work closely with the winner on development, customer support, legal and studio operations. The winning studio will have legal and creative independence".
Not only is this open to teams that want to create a new studio, but also to existing developers that are looking to expand. What is interesting is one of the key aspects, where MY.GAMES is not "required to have MY.GAMES publish the title. The final level of investment and MY.GAMES stake in the company will be decided based on the winning team’s proposal". It's the stake in the company that I'm not completely sure about, where an existing company would likely not want to give up part of itself. MY.GAMES only taking a stake in the project would be a more appealing prospect.
Ilya Karpinsky, managing director of MY.GAMES, had this to say regarding the finding of the game as well as development afterwards:
With MY.STUDIO, our goal is to support creative, innovative developers worldwide found their own studio and reach their full potential. We’re gamers first, so we’re really excited to find the next big thing in AAA shooters. We’re publishers, but we’re also developers. We understand how important it is to retain creative freedom when signing up to a partnership like this. So with MY.STUDIO, we want the teams to focus on the project itself, while we handle all of the operational organizational issues.
What this shows is that I am the all-mighty lord and saviour. That or I may actually have some vague clue about the industry I keep rambling on about. Launching the new brand was always going to be the start of an expansion in the actual type of games
Mail.ru My.com MY.GAMES developed or published.
Jokes aside, what are the key points of this new venture?
- Applications are open today to developers worldwide where they propose a concept for a new AAA shooter
- Applications must be submitted by the 30th of September, 2019
- The Winners will be announced by the end of 2019
- Winners will remain legally and creatively independent
- Investment and MY.GAMES stake will be dependent on proposal
So while MY.GAMES are certainly offering the change to develop a fully-financed AAA title, though specifically a shooter, it is specifically stated that the level of investment will be dependent on the developer's proposal. What I'm not completely sure about is the rigid specification on it being a shooter title and I have no doubt that MY.GAMES would like a multiplayer mode within the game, allowing for a link into the corporations eSports arm and more.
It's going to be interesting to see what comes of this. I imagine what will happen is a smaller studio like New World Interactive, likely already in the concept stages - or further - on a project will aim to get funding for a title. This is also the safer bet for MY.GAMES, going with a known entity with a history of shipping titles, rather than funding a complete game, from concept, by a brand new and untested team. As stated on the MY.STUDIO website:
Existing studios as well as developers looking for resources to realize their idea are equally eligible to apply. The only criterion is having at least five years of experience in working with AAA projects, preferably within a similar genre.