Wargaming (company)

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Wargaming Group Limited
Private
IndustryVideo game industry
Founded2 August 1998; 21 years ago (1998-08-02) in Minsk, Belarus
FounderVictor Kislyi
Headquarters,
Cyprus
Key people
Victor Kislyi (CEO)
ProductsWorld of War series
(World of Tanks
World of Warplanes
World of Warships)
Owner
  • Victor Kislyi (64%)
  • Victor Kislyi's father (25.5%)[1]
Number of employees
Increase 4000+ (2017)
Websitewargaming.com

Wargaming Group Limited (also known as Wargaming.net) is a Belarusian video game company headquartered in Nicosia, Cyprus. The group operates across more than 20 offices globally and development studios, the largest of which is located in Minsk, where the company originated from. 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]

Victor Kislyi, founder and CEO of Wargaming, at the 2012 Game Developers Conference
The building of Wargaming Minsk, Wargaming's original headquarters and largest studio

Wargaming was founded by Victor Kislyi in Minsk on 2 August 1998,[2] intending the company as a developer of strategy video games.[3] 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.[4] Over the course of five years, the company shipped five projects within the Massive Assault franchise.[5]

On 16 November 2007, Wargaming acquired the Minsk-based developer Arise.[6] In December 2008, the company released its first real-time strategy Operation Bagration.[7] On 16 April 2009, Wargaming started working on real-time strategy game Order of War. It was published by Square Enix on 18 September 2009.[8] On 12 August 2010, the company released its first online title, World of Tanks. On 12 April 2011, World of Tanks was released in North America and Europe.[9]

In 2011, Wargaming relocated its headquarters from Minsk to Nicosia, Cyprus.[10] Since 17 August 2015, these headquarters are located in the Wargaming HQ building, formerly known as the President building, located near the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.[11] European operations headquarters, known as Wargaming Europe, were established in Paris, France, in July 2011.[12] On 3 August 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.[13] At Gamescom 2011, the company unveiled the third part of its military saga—the naval action online game World of Warships.[14] 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,[15] with each operating separate projects under Wargaming.

On 21 February 2012, the Android version of World of Tanks Assistant, the mobile application for World of Tanks, went live in Europe and North America.[16] In May 2012, Wargaming entered the Korean games market by opening a subsidiary office in Seoul.[17] Wargaming embarked on a rebranding initiative and announced the Wargaming.net service,[18] which will unite its games and services into a single battle universe in June 2012.[19] On 7 August 2012, Wargaming acquired Australian company BigWorld Technology[20][21] 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.[22] 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 29 January 2013.[23][24] 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).[25] On 12 February 2013, Wargaming announced its own eSports league,[26] the Wargaming.net League. The company acquired Gas Powered Games on 14 February 2013. On 26 March 2013, Wargaming announced World of Tanks Blitz,[27] a mobile MMO game centered around tank combat available for smartphones and tablets. The game was released on iOS[28] in June 2014. As of 2016, World of Tanks Blitz is available on iOS, Android,[29] Windows 10[30] and Mac OS X.[31] Wargaming branched into the Japanese games market by opening an office in Tokyo on 29 May 2013.[32] On 22 July 2013, the company bought Total Annihilation and Master of Orion intellectual properties from the Atari bankruptcy proceedings.[33]

In July 2015, Wargaming launched WG Labs as a division that would act as a third-party publisher to outside developers.[34] The creation of the division was primarily driven by Wargaming's partnership with independent studio NGD Studios and their game, Master of Orion.[35] In October, the company also rebranded DropForge, a Bellevue, Washington-based mobile game studio founded in 2013 by David Bluhm, as WG Cells.[36] WG Cells was shut down in August 2016.[37]

Wargaming's WG Labs division released a reimagining of Master of Orion in August 2016. The game was developed by the Argentine 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 has become 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 SirFoch over his scathing review of a World of Tanks premium tank.[40] In 2017, Wargaming started a mobile games division called Wargaming Mobile.[41] In February 2018, Wargaming America closed its Emeryville offices, cutting 100 jobs.[42]

Studios[edit]

Former[edit]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Publisher(s) Genre
2000 DBA Online Wargaming Turn-based strategy
2003 Massive Assault Turn-based strategy
2004 Massive Assault Network Turn-based strategy
2005 Massive Assault: Domination Turn-based strategy
2006 Massive Assault Network 2 Turn-based strategy
2007 Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power Turn-based strategy
2009 Order of War Square Enix Real-time strategy
2010 Order of War: Challenge Wargaming Real-time strategy
2011 World of Tanks Wargaming Massively multiplayer online game
2013 World of Warplanes Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2014[58] World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2014 World of Tanks Blitz Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2015 World of Warships Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2015 World of Tanks: Xbox One Edition Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2015 World of Tanks Generals Wargaming Turn-based collectible card game
2016 Smash Squad WG Cells[59]
2016 Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars WG Labs Turn-based strategy
2016 Hybrid Wars WG Labs Top-down shooter
2018 World of Warships Blitz Wargaming Multiplayer online action game
2019 Pagan Online Wargaming Hack'n'Slash ARPG
2019 World of Warships Xbox One and PlayStation 4 Wargaming Multiplayer online action game

Esports[edit]

Since 2013, Wargaming runs its own esports organisation, the Wargaming.net League,[60] 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.net on the deck of museum aircraft carrier USS Lexington

Wargaming is involved in a number of projects to preserve military cultural heritage, including:[61]

  • The restoration of the sole surviving Maus super-heavy tank together with the Russian Kubinka Tank Museum.[62] Later, a museum open letter was published saying: "Central Museum of Armored Vehicles” of the Ministry of Defense of Russian Federation officially states, that the information of the restoration works on the tank “Maus”, which appeared in various mass media, is not true."[63]
  • The recovery of the world's last remaining Dornier Do 17, now on display at the Royal Air Force Museum in Cosford, United Kingdom.[64]
  • The Wargaming Education Center at the Tank Museum at Bovington, United Kingdom.[65]
  • 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.[66]
  • The ongoing sponsorship of the USS Iowa, docked in the Port of Los Angeles, California.[67]
  • 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 specialised tools required to service them.[68]
  • A 25-hour streaming marathon at Wargaming West to raise money for children's hospitals and other children's charities (November 2013).[69]
  • 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.[70]
  • Restored of one of four remaining AC-1 Sentinel tanks, now located in the Australian Armor & Artillery Museum, Cairns (March 2016).[71]

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°[72] for the Google Cardboard mobile HMD.[73] This was followed by a series of panoramic tours of WWII tanks, Virtually Inside the Tanks Retrieved,[74] filmed in co-operation with Google and The Tank Museum in Bovington. Available via the Littlstar VR cinema network, the series currently includes the T-34-76,[75] the M4 Sherman "Fury"[76] from the Brad Pitt movie of the same name, the Type 59,[77] Leopard 1,[78] and the Chieftain.[79] Each video also offers a tour with Wargaming military specialists Richard Cutland and Nicolas Moran.[80]

To honour Victory Day, Wargaming released the War Knows No Nation video.[81] 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 honoured the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland with an augmented reality app: HMS Caroline AR Experience.[82] To congratulate Russians on Navy Day, Wargaming created a PortHub augmented reality mobile app that allowed users take snapshots with warships.[83] 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 and the free Tank 100 mobile app. Another in its range of 360° videos, Virtual Inside the Warships, features HMS Cavalier amongst others.[84]

Awards[edit]

  • Best Game Developer Award at GDC Russia 2009 (KRI-2009).[85]
  • Media Award at GDC Russia 2009 (KRI-2009).[85]
  • Best Game Developer Award at GDC Russia 2010 (KRI-2010).[86]
  • Special Award from the Industry at GDC Russia 2011 (KRI-2011).[87]
  • Industry Excellence Award at GDC Russia 2012 (KRI-2012).[88]
  • Best Game Developer Award at GDC Russia 2012 (KRI-2012).[88]

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External links[edit]