Within the highly competitive MMO market, multi-national developer Wargaming.net has not only carved out a space for itself—it's created one of the year's most-played online games. Since last year's North American launch, World of Tanks has thrilled war game fanatics and broken records (it boasts 40 million registered users and has supported 500,000 players on a single Russian server). Recently, Wargaming.net brought World of Tanks and two of its other upcoming titles, World of Warplanes and World of Warships to G-Star, Busan. The company's objective? To introduce South Korean gamers to its singular brand of online games.
I met with Wargaming.net's Director of Marketing Matt West and Senior Public Relations Manager, Chris Cook at G-Star to discuss Wargaming.net's plan for future success and what part South Korean gamers play in the realization of it.
MMORPG: What brings Wargaming.net to G-Star South Korea? What do you hope to achieve at the show? What do you think you did achieve?
Chris Cook: Wargaming is extremely excited to be at G-Star in South Korea. At the show, we’re all about education and exposure for our game World of Tanks. In this country, we’re the newcomer and want to ensure that everyone in attendance at the show knows what World of Tanks is about, and most importantly, what makes it a great gaming experience. On both of those points, we’re confident we succeeded. Our booth was packed, our gaming stations were filled, and attendees walked away with a good taste of what makes World of Tanks such a worldwide phenomenon and hopefully, with anticipation for when the game officially launches in South Korea.
MMORPG: How do you think Korean game culture (or Asian game culture as a whole) differs from its Western counterpart?
Matt West: Obviously, eSports and competitive gaming reign supreme in Korean gaming culture. While both of those markets are important around the world, they especially resonate with gamers in Korea. Our upcoming launch of World of Tanks, and our major push into the eSports discipline for the game, should make a great fit for Korean gamers, both casual and professional.
MMORPG: How did you find G-Star compared to other game expos you've attended?
Chris Cook: We’ve been to gaming shows and expos all around the world, and we’re always delighted by the enthusiasm and excitement from every single attendee we meet. G-Star has been no different and we’ve enjoyed talking to attendees about our games and the gaming industry in Korea as a whole. We can’t wait to come back next year!
MMORPG: Do you find you have to approach Korean/Asian game audiences from a different angle marketing-wise?
Chris Cook: Not particularly. If anything, we just need to remember to focus on the things that have made our games so successful around the world – a competitive, team-based strategic gaming experience steeped in historical accuracy and deep-player customization. Obviously, there are some market-specific interests here in Korea, like eSports and competitive gaming, but as long as we successfully communicate the core fundamentals of our games, the audience will undoubtedly understand the unique experiences we bring to the gaming space here.
MMORPG: The audience for World of Tanks seems to skew a bit older than many competitive online games. How well does the Korean audience fit your demographic?
Chris Cook: We actually benefit from having players that range across all demographics and age groups – from younger players to older ones. The Korean audience seems to be a perfect fit for World of Tanks, not only from this age demographic aspect, but also in their interest in eSports and competitive gaming.
MMORPG: Do you find there to be a different perspective on "realistic" war games in Eastern countries than in Western ones?
Chris Cook: We can’t really speak to an entire region and how it feels about “realistic” war games, but we pride ourselves on creating gaming experiences that cater to players who may only be looking to get in a few quick matches before bed, to the hardcore players who know the in’s and out’s of each tanks in our game, right down the barrel measurements, top speeds and armor thickness. So, in terms of Eastern countries, we’re confident we’ll be able to provide a gaming experience that can satisfy players no matter their inherent level of interest.
MMORPG: How was Wargaming's reception at the show overall? What were some of the comments you received from the gamers who tried your games?
Chris Cook: The reception has been outstanding so far. The staff in our Korean office has put together an outstanding booth for consumers to get their hands on World of Tanks, and attendees have been walking away with smiles on their faces. At the end of the day, this is the biggest accomplishment we can take away from G-Star.