Wargaming (company)

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Wargaming Group Limited
Private
Industry Entertainment, video games
Founded August 2, 1998; 20 years ago (1998-08-02)[1]
Headquarters Minsk, Belarus
Number of locations
15 offices (2018)[2]
Key people
Victor Kislyi (CEO)
Marat Karpeko (COO)
Markus Schill (Head of Global Publishing)
Andrew Tinney (Chief Financial Officer)
Nick Katselapov (Executive Director / Chief Business Development Officer)
Matt Haradon (Chief Human Resources Officer)
Mike McDonald (Chief Technology Officer)
Kieth Kawahata (Head of Wargaming Mobile)
Products Video Games & Services
Revenue Increase €217.9 million (2012)
Increase €6,1 million (2012)
Owner Victor Kislyi (64%)
Kislyi family members (25.5%)[3]
Number of employees
Increase 4000+
Subsidiaries Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore
Wargaming Austin[4]
Wargaming America, Inc.
Wargaming Europe
Wargaming Asia Pte. Ltd.[5]
Lesta Studio
Wargaming Mobile
Wargaming UK
Website Official website

Wargaming Group Limited[6] is a Belarusian multinational game developer and publisher headquartered in Minsk, Belarus. The group operates across 16 offices and development centers. Initially focused on turn-based strategy and real-time strategy games, Wargaming switched to developing free-to-play online action games in 2009, including the military-themed team-based game World of Tanks.

History[edit]

Wargaming was founded by Victor Kislyi in 1998 in Minsk, Belarus[7] as a development studio creating multiplayer strategy games for PC.

The company's first project was DBA Online—the digital version of a miniature tabletop rule set De Bellis Antiquitatis—launched in 2000. Wargaming started working on its first full-scale commercial project—the sci-fi turn-based strategy game Massive Assault, in March 2002.[8] Over the course of five years, the company shipped five projects within the Massive Assault franchise.[9]

On November 16, 2007, Wargaming acquired the Minsk-based developer Arise.[10] In December 2008, the company released its first real-time strategy Operation Bagration.[11] On April 16, 2009, Wargaming started working on real-time strategy game Order of War. It was published by Square Enix on September 18, 2009.[12] On August 12, 2010, the company released its first online title, World of Tanks. On April 12, 2011, World of Tanks was released in North America and Europe.[13]

2011 marked the beginning of active global expansion for Wargaming. On July 26, 2011, the company opened Wargaming Group Ltd. (the Group's new holding company) with headquarters in Nicosia, Cyprus, and following that the European Business Operations Centre—Wargaming Europe—with headquarters in Paris, France—with a subsidiary office in Berlin, Germany.[14] On August 3, 2011, the company created a direct presence in North America by opening an office in San Francisco. At E3 2011, Wargaming announced the follow-up to World of Tanks, the flight combat online action game World of Warplanes.[15] At Gamescom 2011, the company unveiled the third part of its military saga—the naval action online game World of Warships.[16] In October 2011, Wargaming announced the online collectible card MMO game World of Tanks: Generals. Throughout 2011, Wargaming joined strategic partnerships with Persha Studia, Lesta Studio and DAVA Consulting,[17] with each operating separate projects under Wargaming.

On February 21, 2012, the Android version of World of Tanks Assistant, the mobile application for World of Tanks, went live in Europe and North America.[18] In May 2012, Wargaming entered the Korean games market by opening a subsidiary office in Seoul.[19] Wargaming embarked on a rebranding initiative and announced the Wargaming.net service,[20] which will unite its games and services into a single battle universe in June 2012.[21] In the same month, Wargaming had grown to 900 employees throughout the world. On August 7, 2012, Wargaming acquired Australian company BigWorld Technology[22][23] which brought development of the middleware for its MMO projects in-house. In an annual report for the Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) in 2012, Wargaming's revenue was declared to be 217.9 million Euro, with a net profit of 6.1 million Euro.[24] Wargaming's shares were delisted from the CSE in 2015, and it remains a privately held company to date.

Wargaming moved into the console market by acquiring Day 1 Studios on January 29, 2013.[25][26] Renamed Wargaming Chicago-Baltimore, the studios are currently developing World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition (February 2014), Xbox One (July 2015) and PlayStation 4 (January 2016).[27]

On February 12, 2013, Wargaming announced its own eSports league,[28] the Wargaming.net League. The company acquired Gas Powered Games on February 14, 2013. On March 26, 2013, Wargaming announced World of Tanks Blitz,[29] a mobile MMO game centered around tank combat available for smartphones and tablets. The game was released on iOS [30] in June 2014. As of 2016, World of Tanks Blitz is available on iOS, Android,[31] Windows 10[32] and Mac OS X.[33] Wargaming branched into the Japanese games market by opening an office in Tokyo on May 29, 2013.[34] On July 22, 2013, the company bought Total Annihilation and Master of Orion intellectual properties from the Atari bankruptcy proceedings.[35]

In 2015, Wargaming opened two new divisions: the innovation platform, WG Labs, and the mobile-focused unit, WG Cells,[36] which was shut down in 2016.[37]

Wargaming's WG Labs division released a reimagining of Master of Orion in August 2016. The game was developed by the Argentinian NGD Studios. In November 2016 Wargaming, SEGA and Creative Assembly announced a new strategic partnership that will see Total War: ARENA published worldwide.[38] As of 2016, Wargaming owns a significant share of the Hellenic Bank (Daniel S. Loeb's Third Point Group is the other major shareholder of the Cyprus-based Bank) and has shown an interest in purchasing land property assets in Cyprus for its use and investment purposes. Wargaming is currently the largest taxpayer within Cyprus.[39]

In May 2017, Wargaming found itself amidst controversy when it was claimed that one of its employees had threatened to file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claim against YouTube gaming content creator, and World of Tanks Community Contributor, SirFoch over his scathing review of the Chrysler K GF premium tank, which centered around a lack of weak points on the tank that rendered it largely impervious to damage unless the tank attacking it used premium ammunition. Wargaming initially denied this claim, stating they would never threaten such action, before being forced to recant this denial when SirFoch posted evidential screen captures of messages from WG employee Zoltan "Ph3lan" Sipos which stated, in addition to the threat of copyright strike, that SirFoch had also been removed from the developer's community contributor program. In light of this evidence, WarGaming released another statement apologizing for its threats against SirFoch and claiming that they were not made with the purpose of censoring his criticism of the developer, implying instead that his review had contained "hate speech and homophobic slurs", an insinuation that was also recanted when viewers of the video found that, although it contained vulgar language, it was devoid of any form of hate speech.[40]

In 2017, Wargaming started a mobile games division called Wargaming Mobile.[41]

Intellectual properties[edit]

Strategic partners and owned studios[edit]

Games and reception[edit]

The most popular of Wargaming's titles is the online action game World of Tanks. World of Tanks created a new market niche of slow-paced, military-history PvP games, which the company expanded in the following years by releasing the flight MMO World of Warplanes (2013),[44] the cross-platform action game World of Tanks Blitz (2014),[45] the turn-based collectible card game World of Tanks Generals (2015),[46] and the naval warfare MMO World of Warships (2015).[47] All these titles are delivered through the Wargaming.net service.

Since this initial success, World of Tanks has expanded to consoles, initially Xbox 360, then Xbox One and PlayStation 4.[48]

Wargaming Seattle is engaged in the development of an unannounced project.

Release year Title Publisher Genre Aggregated scores
2000 DBA Online Turn-based strategy Not available
2003 Massive Assault Turn-based strategy 80.11%,[49] 77[50]
2004 Massive Assault Network Turn-based strategy 78.15%,[51] 74[52]
2005 Massive Assault: Domination Turn-based strategy 69.61%,[53] 69[54]
2006 Massive Assault Network 2 Turn-based strategy 76.00%,[55] 72[56]
2007 Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power Turn-based strategy 69.47%,[57] 68[58]
2009 Order of War Square Enix[59] Real-time strategy 71.67%,[60] 69[61][62][63]
2010 Order of War: Challenge Wargaming Real-time strategy 72.50%,[64] 70[65]
World of Tanks Wargaming Massively multiplayer online game 82.15%,[66] 80[67]
World of Warplanes Wargaming Multiplayer online action game 69.18%[69] 69[70]
2014[71] World of Tanks Xbox 360 Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2014 World of Tanks Blitz Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2015 World of Warships Wargaming Multiplayer online action game 80.93%[72] 81[73]
2015 World of Tanks on Xbox One Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2015 World of Tanks Generals Wargaming Turn-based collectible card game
2016 Smash Squad WG Cells[74]
2016 Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars WG Labs Turn-based strategy 75.83%[75] 74[76]
2016 Hybrid Wars WG Labs[77] Top-down shooter
TBA Excalibur[78] TBA

WG Labs[edit]

WG Labs is an organizational unit within Wargaming that cooperates with third party developers and delivers games outside the company's traditional paradigm. Opened in 2015,[79] the division partnered with the NGD Studios to release Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars (2016[80]) and is working with Extreme Developers on the top-down shooter Hybrid Wars.[77]

The Wargaming.net service[edit]

Announced in 2012, Wargaming.net is a service developed by Wargaming designed to support all of Wargaming's online games, and provide a single point of entry to all Wargaming projects, partners and fan websites.

eSports[edit]

Since 2013, Wargaming runs its own eSports organization, the Wargaming.net League,[81] which serves as a platform for World of Tanks pro-gamers, with each tournament year broken down into several seasons featuring a series of online and offline events that culminate in a massive online tournament, Grand Finals.

Military history activities[edit]

Wargaming is involved in a number of projects to preserve military cultural heritage, including:[82]

  • The attempt to preserve the battleship USS Texas, which is at risk of being scrapped due to inadequate maintenance and rusting of the hull, making it difficult and expensive to preserve.
  • The restoration of military warfare at the Central Museum of the Armed Forces (Moscow), The Victory Weapon Museum (Krasnodar, Russia).
  • The restoration of WWII memorials in Medyn (Kaluga region, Russia) and on the Volokolamsk highway (Moscow region, Russia).
  • The recovery of the world's last remaining Dornier Do 17, now on display at the Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford, United Kingdom.[84]
  • The Wargaming Education Center at the Tank Museum at Bovington, United Kingdom.[85]
  • Annual Memorial Day events in North America. Donating revenue from select in-app purchases to charities, including AMVETS, Homes for Our Troops, and Military Families Fund.[86]
  • The ongoing sponsorship of the USS Iowa, docked in the Port of Los Angeles, California.[87]
  • Fundraising for restoration projects at the Tank Museum at Bovington, United Kingdom. Proceeds from special premium shop packages are donated to the museum and used to restore the museum's current fleet of operational vehicles and to buy the highly specialized tools required to service them.[88]
  • A 25-hour streaming marathon at Wargaming West to raise money for children's hospitals and other children's charities (November 2013).[89]
  • The Grace After Fire charity stream in North America. Assisting women veterans transitioning from military service, providing resources and a space to connect, renew, and heal.[90]
  • Restored of 1 of 4 remaining AC-1 Sentinel tanks, now located in the Australian Armor & Artillery Museum, Cairns (March 2016).[91]
  • Restored KV-1 to fully working order together with The Historical and Cultural Complex Stalin Line.

VR and AR Content[edit]

As part of its simulation initiatives, Wargaming is exploring virtual and augmented reality technologies. In early 2015, the company worked with Google to record and portray a 1941 battle in 360°[92] for the Google Cardboard mobile HMD.[93] This was followed by a series of panoramic tours of WWII tanks, Virtually Inside the Tanks Retrieved,[94] filmed in cooperation with Google and The Tank Museum in Bovington, England. Available via the Littlstar VR cinema network, the series currently includes the T-34-76,[95] the M4 Sherman "Fury"[96] from the Brad Pitt movie of the same name, the Type 59,[97] Leopard 1,[98] and the Chieftain.[99] Each video also offers a tour with Wargaming Military Specialists Richard Cutland and Nicolas Moran.[100]

To honor Victory Day, Wargaming released the War Knows No Nation video.[101] The video rekindles the memories of three veteran World War II tankers, blending live action panorama footage with CG scenes for the very first time.

In spring 2016, Wargaming worked with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and honored the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland with an augmented reality app: HMS Caroline AR Experience.[102] This app recreates the only ship still in existence that fought at the Battle of Jutland: the WW1 cruiser HMS Caroline.

To congratulate Russians on Navy Day, Wargaming created a PortHub augmented reality mobile app that allowed users take snapshots with warships.[103]

As part of the 100 Years of Tanks celebration, Wargaming presented the Virtually inside the First Tanks 360° video that featured a walkthrough of Bovington's collection of early tanks, enhanced by World of Tanks in-game scenes of the Mark I, and the free Tank 100 mobile app.

The latest series in its range of 360° videos, Virtual Inside the Warships, is set to debut soon[when?] and will feature HMS Cavalier, amongst others.[104]

Awards[edit]

  • Best Game Developer Award at GDC Russia 2009 (KRI-2009).[105]
  • Media Award at GDC Russia 2009 (KRI-2009).[105]
  • Best Game Developer Award at GDC Russia 2010 (KRI-2010).[106]
  • Special Award from the Industry at GDC Russia 2011 (KRI-2011).[107]
  • Industry Excellence Award at GDC Russia 2012 (KRI-2012).[108]
  • Best Game Developer Award at GDC Russia 2012 (KRI-2012).[108]
  • Best MMO Award for World of Tanks at the Golden Joystick Awards 2012.[109]
  • Best Booth Award from Massively at E3 2012.[110]
  • Best Publisher Award from MMORPGITALIA.[111]
  • Best Action Download MMO 2012 Award for World of Tanks in the MMO of the Year awards.[112]
  • Best Classic Download MMO 2013 Award for World of Tanks in the MMO of the Year awards.[112]

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