In this second blog of a two part series, Maxim Kirilenko, Chief Business Development Officer at Playrix, continues his dialogue with Samsung Developer’s Senior Marketing Manager, Jeanne Hsu, about Playrix and Gardenscapes TM.
Jeanne Hsu (JH): In part 1 of my chat with Maxim Kirilenko, he talked about how his journey to Playrix, the company, and what winning the award for Gardenscapes meant to Playrix. We also discussed how they come up with game ideas and their criteria for success. Let’s continue the conversation.
Support for Holidays Around the World, Considerations
JH: It looks like you have launched the Lunar New Year sale for Gardenscapes. Kudos to you for celebrating this holiday! Do you come up with different themes for the holidays?
Maxim Kirilenko (MK): Yes, we want to be diverse to support different cultures around holidays. We strongly believe we can bring more interest via in-game activities and live ops to customers in specific countries. Then we spread these themed live ops to other countries. For example, we developed a Brazilian Carnival live op for Gardenscapes two years ago. We developed it for Brazil specifically since it was a major celebration for Brazil in Rio and in San Paulo. But we found that Brazilian Carnival was an interesting event for the global community as well; they wanted to be part of the celebration experience. So we released Brazil Carnival for our global community which was very well received!
Sometimes it’s challenging to combine the holidays when they occur around the same time. Last year for some of our games, we split half our audience by offering Lunar New Year themed games while the other half played St. Valentine’s Day themes. In some years we had a Lunar New Year theme for half the games and Valentine’s Day for the other. We’ve also supported Diwali, Holi, Ramadan, Brazilian Carnival and Thanksgiving, just to mention a few. Each year we have a diverse and broad roadmap for themes.
JH: What challenges have you faced when it comes to designing, publishing, or marketing?
MK: We face the same problems as other game developers. For example, it can be challenging to constantly find new ideas. It’s also not always easy to decide which game to release and which game to keep tweaking. When it comes to publishing, the main difficulty is meeting all of our partners’ requirements. Since Playrix is a global publisher, we have to consider the subtleties of legislation in different countries. As far as marketing is concerned, there are many changes in this area right now, which in turn affect the market for buying traffic or attracting players in general.
Feedback and Advice
JH: Feedback from users: what have you found to be most useful?
MK: We use an internal system to collect feedback problems and issues. Active players usually send a lot of signals they want to get something through social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’ll collect info. Depending on the feedback, we may incorporate new features or modifications. For example, from Township we had a boat race event which was very popular. Players asked to repeat this event quarterly. We may “turn on” the event or adjust the event based on feedback.
JH: What advice would you give developers looking to bring their games to the Galaxy Store?
Be open to exploration. If you don’t have an international team but are developing on mobile, think about the international community. Then when you apply your game design techniques, think about global tastes to ensure its success.
JH: What is in the future for Playrix?
MK: We will continue pursuing our main goal—to bring joy to people by creating high-quality games.
JH: Where can we find Gardenscapes on Galaxy Store?
JH: What would you say are your 3 most popular channels to market Playrix and Gardenscapes?
MK: For marketing, we use Google ad words (UAC) [Unified Ad Campaign], Facebook, and Instagram.
JH: What are some of the ways you promote Gardenscapes?
MK: Here are our websites and channels:
Diversity and Inclusion
JH: What is Playrix doing related to diversity and inclusion?
MK: Equal opportunities for growth and development are part of our Cultural Code, which we follow while hiring employees and interacting with the team. Respectful communication, constant constructive open feedback—all this is very important for maintaining a healthy atmosphere of an international company. In order to maintain a safe working environment, we support a program where every employee can report discrimination.
JH: In terms of diversity, what programs do you have in place?
MK: We have programs to support employees, female leadership and motivate female employee to take management-type positions. A couple of years ago, we started different programs about female leadership and started to motivate female employees to take management positions. Last year across all our game titles, five of the six titles had project managers that were female. This program helped us a lot and inspired our employees to be more inclusive.
Rix and Fun
JH: Who is the little green character on your website?
MK: That’s Rix, our dragon mascot of Playrix. He has a lot of charisma and lively facial expressions with his eyes and smile. He’s now used literally everywhere: in promotional materials, on the company Instagram and other social channels, as a mascot and souvenir to welcome new employees.
JH: How does the Playrix team have fun outside of work?
MK: Every year the events team at Playrix organizes more than 80 offline and online events for employees. These include everything from trivia quizzes and parties to creative contests for employees’ children, an internal radio where we can request songs, educational hackathons, boot camps, and charity sports marathons. For example, we held a Stay-On-Track sports challenge last year where the company matched every kilometer that employees walked, ran, swam, or biked into money; the total sum was used to support a charitable project.
For participating in company activities, employees receive points that can be exchanged for limited-edition merchandise in the Playrix Shop, such as t-shirts, wireless chargers, or game consoles. In this way, we motivate our team to get to know each other and connect more outside of work while also giving them the opportunity to choose the company gifts they prefer.
JH: What do you do for fun outside of work?
MK: I enjoy scuba diving, windsurfing, tennis, and golf. I play a lot of games (mobile, console, and PC). As a father of a 16-month daughter, I now spend most of my free time with my daughter and wife.
JH: Thank you so much for this enlightening interview Maxim.
MK: You’re welcome.
Did you miss part 1 of this two-part blog series? Click here to read it now.
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