It’s February 2011. Egypt is swept up in a revolutionary wave of protest. Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” preps to rule the radio waves for the next 65 weeks. Plus, you’re still stoked there was so much hot Portman-on-Kunis action in that Black Swan ballerina movie your girlfriend dragged you to go see.
Meanwhile, in Belarus, a man named Andrei Yarantsau is walking up to Wargaming.net’s video game development center in the country’s capital city of Minsk. His boyish good looks and slim figure are bundled up against the 4-below-zero early morning air. The sky is clear above Minsk’s clean, broad avenues and massive squares, and it’s Andrei’s first day of work as Wargaming.net’s Vice President of Publishing.
His breath is a steamy, white trail behind him, and he has only two months before he helps usher a little-known free-to-play online Russian-language game called World of Tanks into the European and North American markets. He’ll help oversee this strategy game developer grow from 150 employees only 14 months ago, to nearly 800 today. That’s like hiring two-and-a-half new employees every single business day of the week for an entire year.
Of course, no one in February 2011 really knew the unprecedented year that Wargaming.net was about to have. Sure, World of Tanks’ Russian launch went well. Really well, perhaps. But despite Chief Executive Officer Victor Kislyi being infectiously enthusiastic (and “overly optimistic,” as stated by one Wargaming.net artist), it’d be easy to understand if Andrei had a moment’s hesitation before opening the front door to his new office.
But whenever Andrei feels his confidence flagging, a quote from his all-time favorite movie runs through his head: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
Fast forward to today, and the Minsk office now has over 300 employees clocking in. The other 500 are located in offices across the globe in London, Kiev, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Paris, and San Francisco. “We might be the fastest-growing game company ever,” Andrei admits. “Looking at the success we have with World of Tanks … I see nothing that can hinder us from growing further.”
If that’s true, then Guinness World Records will continue visiting theWargaming.net offices. World of Tanks’ 24 million registered users is nothing to sniff at, but it’s the 450,000+ concurrent users on a single server that handily tore the record away from sci-fi MMO EVE Online (EVE peaked at about 60,000 before World of tanks showed up). And now Wargaming.net is running servers in Russia, Europe, North America, China, and a newly-opened Singaporean Asia Pacific server. As to future growth, World of Warplanes signed on 100,000 beta testers in March, and World of Battleships, aims for a 2013 launch.
Be sure to check out our retrospective with Wargaming.net to get their take of the game industry.
Randy gravitates toward anything open world, open ended, or open to interpretation. He prefers strategy over shooting, introspection over action, and stealth and survival over looting and grinding. He's been a gamer since 1982, and writing critically about video games since he got out of the Navy in 2002. A few of his favorites are Skyrim, Elite Dangerous, and Red Dead Redemption. He lives with his wife and daughter in Oregon.View Profile