Working in Asia comes with many new and different gaming styles and interests. We have seen in China that gaming is regulated to mostly mobile, while in Japan, consoles still are the kings of gaming. But one place increasingly growing in Asia is the interest in web gaming. Whether by phone or computer, people are starting to get into web gaming for their speed of entry, no need to download the complete game, and for the quick gameplay that doesn't need lengthy instructions.
We've shared a few publishers in web gaming, but one that is making waves in Asia is Russia's Yandex Games, a division of Yandex, Russia's most popular search engine. The company has been building its gaming division for the past five years and is growing rapidly across Asia and other areas of the world. Their work has also been so well received that many of their games are now translated for gamers all over the world to play in their home language.
They are delighted with some of the games already coming to their service built with Cocos Creator. They recently released their SDK for Cocos Creator developers on the Cocos Store, allowing for easier monetization options, user authentication, and much more.
We talked to Nikita Bokarev, Head of Business Development at Yandex Games, about the new opportunity for Cocos Creator developers.
Tell us a little about how Yandex Games was created.
We launched Yandex Games as a game monetization platform back in 2018. The service found a place where Yandex is most successful: search and recommendation systems combined with ad monetization for content. With our experience behind us, we were able to create a high-quality game aggregator with an amazing recommendation system. It serves as one of the platform's main competitive advantages, in fact.
After the launch, the platform saw rapid growth across our key metrics: audience, number of active users, and revenue. But that's not a surprise. You can play directly from the browser, after all, with no need to install apps or programs, so users are always just a click away from new games. About 30 million active players visit Yandex Games every month right now, and hundreds of developers around the world are making money with titles they've published on the platform.
Are most of your users from Russia or outside the country?
Yandex Games enjoys an international audience. Of course, a significant number of our gamers are from Russia. But the fact that games are translated into dozens of languages means we attract millions of users from other countries.
Most of the titles in our library were published by developers in Russia, Europe, Vietnam, India, and Turkey, with a total of 46 countries represented.
Are there any impressive statistics you'd like to share?
Of course! If we look back over our history and put it into numbers, we'll see the following:
● Yandex Games has been around for five years.
● The platform currently supports 70 languages.
● We host more than 20,000 games, from hypercasual to casual to mid-core. Titles featuring in-game payments perform well thanks to our standardized currency.
● Our monthly audience is 30 million active players.
● The average platform playtime per user is more than 55 minutes.
● 70 million dollars have been paid out to developers over the past four years.
● The number of total users has increased by a factor of 1.5 over the last year, while developer revenue has tripled.
What makes Yandex Games unique?
Yandex is a market leader in search, recommendation systems, and content monetization. We leverage those technologies and tools to maximize revenue for developers and the playing experience for our gamers.
Developers don't have to pay to host their games on the platform. They don't have to worry about attracting advertising traffic either since we handle it on our side, and our recommendation system is constantly being fine-tuned to make sure we're putting the right games in front of the right people. When you include user interests, you can rank the games with the best metrics higher in the catalog. That means gamers spend less time looking for new titles, while the best games enjoy a growing audience.
How do game developers find Yandex and join the platform?
All they have to do is register as a developer and host their game. There are no documents to sign. Instead, the developers just accept the platform and ad network offers. Yandex then provides turnkey solutions for user authentification, in-game purchases, ads, and game promotion. If you create high-quality games, Yandex will take care of the rest!
The plugin supports the Yandex Games API, meaning developers can export JSON texts for localization. The SDK works with games developed using Cocos Creator 3.6.0 or later.
As we follow GitHub's open-source policies, we answer questions from developers and are always happy to get suggestions for how we can improve.
What do you like about Cocos Creator, and why did you make the plugin?
- Thanks to its support for TypeScript, the Cocos Creator environment is great for beginners and experienced web developers alike.
- Cocos Creator lets you adapt games while moderating your archive size and maintaining fantastic performance.
What's the current situation regarding HTML5? What does the future hold for it?
Let me reply in the context of web games more generally. Every year, modern browsers release more and more features that were once only available with native applications. WebGL support has improved game performance, WebGPU delivers even more opportunities for low-level access to the GPU, and WebAssembly lets you work in C++. With all that in hand, you can spend fewer resources porting games from mobile engines and improve performance on the web.
Why is this the industry for you?
Meanwhile, the mobile app market is saturated. It feels like there's something already out there no matter what you're looking to do, making it hard to find and occupy a niche. Unlike apps, games operate under content market rules, following the same trends as movies, music, and blogs.
What advice would you give game developers looking to take their games to the web?
1) Optimize performance and graphics to make sure your game works well on older Android and iOS models. Users often don't have the latest devices.
2) Adapt your game to a desktop so you can attract the players sitting there with a keyboard and mouse. If you released your game as an app, a desktop version has probably never occurred to you. But we see more time spent gaming on computers than on phones. Computers are the choice for about 30% of the Yandex Games audience, instead of smartphones.
3) Don't forget the importance of high-quality localization into the most popular languages. Localization costs a fraction of development, making it a great way to broaden your potential user base. Speaking of which, Yandex Games lets you download texts to work directly with them.
4) Analyze the technical and product metrics the platform offers for your game and let them guide your decision-making process. Experiment and track how changes impact your numbers.
And, of course, host your games on our platform! :)