Playrix

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Playrix Holding Ltd.
TypePrivate
IndustryVideo game industry
Founded2004; 17 years ago (2004) in Vologda, Russia
Founders
  • Dmitry Bukhman
  • Igor Bukhman
Headquarters,
Ireland
Number of employees
over 2500 (2020)[1]
Websitewww.playrix.com

Playrix Holding Ltd., also known as Playrix Entertainment and Playrix Games, is a developer of free-to-play mobile games behind titles such as Fishdom and Gardenscapes. The company was founded by Dmitry Bukhman and Igor Bukhman in 2004 in Vologda, Russia. Playrix has been headquartered in Dublin since 2013.

As of 2020, more than 2,500 people were employed by Playrix in 25 offices around the world. It is ranked the third-largest mobile game developer in the world in terms of revenue. According to Bloomberg, Playrix was worth approximately $7.8 billion in 2020.[1]

History[edit]

Igor and Dmitry Bukhman started working on their first game in 2001 on a computer with a Pentium 100 processor. They released Discovera later that year, which was similar to the game Xonix. The brothers sеt its price at $15 and uploaded it to two hundred app catalogs. The game brought in $60 in its first month. Six months later, the Bukhman brothers released their second game, which brought their monthly revenue up to $200 and allowed them to buy a second computer. They released another game six months after that and started selling screensavers that they bought from programmers.[2][3][4]

By 2004, Igor and Dmitry Bukhman had released three games and 30 screensavers, bringing their earnings to $10,000 a month. They founded Playrix, rented an office in Vologda, and hired ten employees. By the end of 2007, the company had released around 15 casual games and its first PC game, reaching a monthly revenue of $300,000.[4]

In 2009, Playrix became interested in developing free-to-play games for mobile phones while continuing to create PC games. In 2012, the company launched its first game on FacebookTownship. In 2013, Township became the company’s first-ever game to be released on iOS and later on Android. Over the next seven years, the game would be downloaded about 250 million times.[4][3]

In April 2013, Playrix moved its headquarters to Dublin.[4] The company started working remotely in 2015, and by 2016 it had more employees working remotely than at its central office.[5][6]

At the end of April 2015, the company announced the release of its second free-to-play mobile game — Fishdom: Deep Dive. Playrix then released Gardenscapes (2016) and Homescapes (2017). The former brought the company $1.5 billion in revenue by the end of 2019.[3][4] The company later released two more games — Wildscapes (2019) and Manor Matters (2020).[7][8][9][10]

According to App Annie, in September 2016, the company became the highest-grossing mobile game developer in the CIS and Baltic states region, the second in Europe in terms of revenue, and ranked in the Top 20 biggest mobile game developers in the world.[11][3] In August 2017, the company became the leading mobile game publisher in Europe based on revenue from Google Play and the App Store.[12][13]

At the beginning of 2018, the Bukhman brothers considered selling the company but decided to invest in other video game companies instead.[14] In the summer of 2018, Playrix invested in one of the largest European developers, Nexters.[15] In 2018 Playrix became the 9th highest-grossing game publisher globally on iOS and Android.[16][17]

In 2019, Playrix made approximately $1.7 billion.[6] About $100 million was spent buying shares in European game studios.[14] In August 2019, Playrix invested in the Belarusian company Vizor Games.[18] In October of the same year, Playrix bought the Ukrainian company Zagrava Games[19] and integrated the Russian game developer Alawar Games into the company as well.[20] That December, they acquired the Serbian company Eipix Entertainment.[21]

In May 2020, Playrix acquired the Armenian studio Plexonic[22] and the Croatian studio Cateia Games that June.[23][24] As a result of this focus on acquisitions, the company grew at a rapid pace. As of 2020, more than 2,500 people were employed by Playrix in 25 offices around the world. In September 2020, Bloomberg, citing an analysis conducted by App Annie, reported that Playrix had become the second highest-grossing mobile game developer after Tencent.[1]

In February of 2021, App Annie ranked Playrix as the third-largest mobile game developer in terms of annual revenue, right behind Tencent and NetEase. According to the ratings, Playrix rose from seventh to third place, surpassing the American company Activision Blizzard — the developer behind the first-person shooter series Call of Duty.[25] In March of 2021, the company bought the Ukrainian studio Boolat Games.[26]

Finances[edit]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Playrix reported an increase in downloads and profits.[27] In response to the pandemic, in April 2020, Playrix paid each of their 2,100 employees an additional one-off payment of $650 to aid in financial support.[28]

In 2020, according to App Annie, Gardenscapes and Fishdom were downloaded 190 million and 120 million times respectively. As a result, Playrix’s earnings from downloads and in-game purchases increased to $1.75 billion in just eight months. Profits from ads accounted for only 3% of the company’s total earnings. The number of monthly active players also increased to 180 million.[25]

In April 2019, Igor and Dmitry Bukhman first appeared in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Their net worth was $1.4 billion each.[6] According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as of September 2020, each brother’s share was worth $3.9 billion.[1]

Games[edit]

Year Title Microsoft
Store
[29]
macOS[30] Android[31] iOS[30] Facebook Platform Nintendo DS Amazon[32] Galaxy Store[33] BlackBerry World
2008 Fishdom Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
2012 Township Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
2016 Gardenscapes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2017 Homescapes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2019 Wildscapes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No
2019 Manor Matters Yes No Yes Yes No No No No No

Criticism[edit]

Playrix has been criticised for its use of deceptive or false advertisements on mobile advertisement platforms such as AdMob.[34] Advertisements for many of their games like Fishdom, Gardenscapes, and Homescapes display gameplay that does not represent the actual gameplay of the product in question.[35][36] For example, Homescapes advertisements represent the gameplay as repairing a home by selecting the correct tool, while in reality, it is a match-3 game.[37] In September 2020, the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority ruled that two advertisements for Homescapes and Gardenscapes were misleading and "must not appear again in the form complained of".[38][39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Ilya Khrennikov, Alexander Sazonov (2020-09-29). "Billionaire Gaming Brothers Are Now Tencent's Biggest Rival". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  2. ^ ""В России наши игры в топе. Но бренд не знает почти никто" Два брата из Вологды сделали компанию Playrix и попали в список миллиардеров Bloomberg". meduza.io. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  3. ^ a b c d "Playrix has become Europe's quiet giant in mobile gaming". VentureBeat. 2016-11-23. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  4. ^ a b c d e Анастасия Карпова (2020-03-19). "Как братья Бухманы построили одну из крупнейших игровых компаний в мире — Playrix — и стали миллиардерами" [How the Bukhman brothers built one of the largest gaming companies in the world - Playrix - and became billionaires]. Forbes Russia. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  5. ^ ""Удалённая работа — основа развития компании": Основатели Playrix об управлении распределенной командой" (in Russian). VC.ru. 2016-07-04. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  6. ^ a b c Ilya Khrennikov, Alexander Sazonov (2019-04-17). "Russian Gamer Brothers Are the Newest Hidden Billionaires". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  7. ^ Oleg Nesterenko (2019-08-19). "Why does new Playrix game veer away from the roots?". GameWorldObserver.com. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  8. ^ "Playrix soft-launches new match-three puzzler Wildscapes". PocketGamer. 2019-04-23. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  9. ^ "Playrix releases Manor Matters globally after six months in soft launch". pocketgamer.biz. 2020-04-30. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  10. ^ "Manor Matters: Playrix releases new game: it's not match-3, it's hidden object". Game World Observer. 2020-04-30. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  11. ^ Локальные игровые издатели растут быстрее мирового рынка
  12. ^ Mikhailova, Lera (2017-10-13). "Российская Playrix возглавила рейтинг европейских издателей игр по объему доходов в августе 2017 года". vc.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  13. ^ "Manor Matters: Playrix releases new game: it's not match-3, it's hidden object". Game World Observer. 2020-04-30. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  14. ^ a b Ilya Khrennikov, Alexander Sazonov (2019-12-05). "Mobile-Gaming Billionaires Are Buying Rivals Instead of Selling Out". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  15. ^ Anastasia Karpova (2020-09-29). ""Ребята совершили невозможное": как российский разработчик игр Nexters за год вырос в 15 раз и почти стал "единорогом"". Forbes Russia (in Russian). Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  16. ^ "App Annie's Top 52 Publishers of 2018 | App Annie Blog". App Annie Content. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  17. ^ "По итогам 2018 года Playrix вошла в десятку самых зарабатывающих мобильных компаний мира". app2top.ru (in Russian). 13 March 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-12.
  18. ^ "Playrix инвестировал в белорусскую Vizor Games" (in Russian). app2top.ru. 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  19. ^ "Playrix объявил о приобретении украинской студии Zagrava Games" (in Russian). app2top.ru. 2019-10-29. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  20. ^ "Неофициально: авторы игры Beholder ушли от Alawar к Playrix" (in Russian). app2top.ru. 2019-10-30. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  21. ^ "Playrix приобрел сербскую студию разработки Eipix Entertainment" (in Russian). app2top.ru. 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  22. ^ Kerr, Chris. "Playrix acquires Armenian casual mobile game developer Plexonic". gamasutra.com. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  23. ^ "Playrix объявила о приобретении хорватской студии Cateia Games" (in Russian). app2top.ru. 2020-06-04. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  24. ^ "GameStop Posts USD$165m Loss; Playrix Acquires Cateia Games". TheGamingEconomy.com. 2020-06-10. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  25. ^ a b "Компания братьев из Вологды вошла в тройку самых успешных издателей игр" (in Russian). RBC. 2021-02-02. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  26. ^ "Playrix братьев Бухманов купила украинскую игровую студию Boolat Games" (in Russian). VC.ru. 2021-03-22. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  27. ^ "Russian mobile game developer makes record profits during lockdowns". Reuters. 2020-06-05. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  28. ^ Partleton, Kayleigh; Writer, Staff. "Playrix is giving its staff a $650 one-off payment to help alleviate coronavirus stress". pocketgamer.biz. Retrieved 2020-07-04.
  29. ^ "Microsoft Store". Microsoft. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  30. ^ a b "App Store". Apple. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  31. ^ "Google Play". Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  32. ^ "Amazon Store". Amazon. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  33. ^ "Galaxy Store". Samsung. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  34. ^ "Playrix false advertising breaks Google Developer Policies. What can be done about it? - Google Play Community". support.google.com. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  35. ^ Nelson, Noah (20 March 2019). "Why We're Stuck With Fake Game Ads: They Make Big Bucks". YR Media. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  36. ^ "Why Mobile Games Use Fake Ads? One more point". StoreMaven. 24 October 2019.
  37. ^ "False advertising in mobile games overview". Blog - Apptica. 9 August 2019.
  38. ^ "ASA Ruling on PLR Worldwide Sales Ltd t/a Playrix". Advertising Standards Authority. 30 September 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  39. ^ "Homescapes and Gardenscapes ads banned as misleading". BBC News. 12 October 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020.

External links[edit]