By @SimonCocking

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

Active Games is a small game development studio. Our passion is MMORPG games, like World of Warcraft, Heroes of Might and Magic. We began making mobile games back in 2006. See more about our Lordmancer 2 ICO here.

How are you different?

We have true passion for games, and the importand thing is that the whole team shares this passion. We’re really close, spend a lot of time together in and out of the office, play more or less the same games.

Why will you do well?

We have a clear vision of a great, successful MMORPG on mobile. We like fair play, we hate paywalls, pay-to-win games. We listen to our players, those who play and those who dropped off.
The game we’re creating reflects our vision of what a great game should be like. We don’t compromise. We’re honest and open, and people see it.

Where are you based?

We’re based in Perm, Russia. To give you an idea where the heck is it, I will remind you that Europe connects with Asia in a place called Ural Mountains. Well, Perm is the last big town on the eastern edge of European continent. It’s the last town in Europe, so to speak. Or the first one, depends on which side you’re looking from. It was fun to visit Moher Cliffs in Ireland one day, the last piece of Europe in the west.

When was the company launched?

We began making mobile games back in 2006. But until last year we operated simply as a department of mother company. Only when Global Top Round (globaltopround.com) selected us last year as one of their inductee companies, we had to incorporate as a separate company.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

I’d say there were two.

The first one was our Lordmancer for Java, the game we incepted back in 2006, in the era of “phones with buttons”, Nokia, Siemens, LG and the likes. We were selling Java games, all of them were quite primitive to say the least, and one day we though why didn’t we create a really good game. We thought, mobile phones were getting closer and close to PCs of 80s, the first computers we could lay our hands on back in the day. So we tasked just one programmer to investigate whether it was even possible to create a network-based, multiplayer game in Java. Remember, it was 2006. The whole program had to be under 100 kilobytes in size, including code and all of the graphics. Mobile networks were notoriously slow. 3G hasn’t been invented yet. And yet we pulled it off. We released Lordmancer for Java in 2008, and today, after nine years, people still play it and love it. And it returned our investment four times.

The second win was when Lordmancer II, our new game, was selected by Global Top Round. We haven’t even applied. They approached us out of blue sky and asked if we would like to join a competition to win their acceleration program. Naturally, we agreed, made it to the finals and won one of ten slots. This improved our spirit a lot. Finally, someone else in the whole world believed in what we were doing, beside ourselves. Global Top Round is a tremendous help, and one of their people is our ICO advisor.

Who are you trying to attract to your product?

At this moment, the most important people for us are ICO backers, investors. From November 07, we’re doing an ICO, a crowdfunding campaign in cryptocurrency. It’s pretty small by ICO standards, only $1,5 million, but that’s because our game is already in beta. We need money only to create more game content, and to hire best talent to further improve it and make it a masterpiece. Everybody can participate, there’s no minimal amount.

What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?

Don’t try to invent. Instead, try to improve something that already exists and has demand, but needs improvement. Come up with a vision, build a small team that shares this vision, build a prototype, show it to people. If you have early followers, stick to them, listen to what they have to say. Improve, listen, repeat. It’s in every business book.

Tell us about your team?

Currently, the team consists of 12 people, all of them live here in Perm. Love playing games, love building games. Everyone has their passion. For some, it’s top-class art, for others, it’s clean and fast server code, fair and multi-faceted game balance. Everybody is on good terms with everybody else. Currently, we work from an “apartment-office”, we built it and moved there in 2010. It’s quite comfortable, guys need a place to relax and have a cup of tea. We don’t have fixed work hours, everybody works when, as much and how they see fit.

What does cryptocurrency have to do with your game?

Most of MMORPG games have quite complex, developed in-game economy. A lot of weapons, artifacts, most of them specialized, a few very rare. Players love to trade in-game items with other players. But oftentimes, they’d prefer to trade with real money, this phenomenon even has a name, “real money trading”, RMT. Typically, RMT takes places on some third-party web sites, game fan sites. In the times of World of Warcraft, today’s cryptocurrency icon Brock Pierce created a company called IDG whose sole business was trading of WoW items (RMT was prohibited by Blizzard, the creator of World of Warcraft). At one point, the company received $100 million from investors such as Goldman Sachs and Oak Investment Partners (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brock_Pierce).

We saw a lot of RMT in our Lordmancer for Java, too. Over 25% of players were involved.

So, we decided to build this real money trading feature into Lordmancer II. We already had all necessary code and screens for player-to-player trade, but only virtual in-game currencies could be used as means of payment. So, we introduced a third in-game currency, LordCoins, which is at the same time a cryptocurrency, an ETH20-based token. After our ICO, players will be able to trade in-game items for LordCoins, then at some point take LordCoins out of the game and exchange them for any other crypto- or fiat currency. This way, a player can actually profit from playing Lordmancer II, perhaps even make a living out of it.

Our approach is not unique, for example a game Spells of Genesis by one of our advisors has it, their token is called BitCrystals, and it’s hugely popular.

What are your plans for the future?

Oh, we aim to become the next great MMORPG, but on mobile. Next year, we will be rolling out Lordmancer II to different markets, we’re anticipating tremendous amount of work and a lot of success. We want to make Lordmancer II a worldwide gaming phenomenon. The next World of Warcraft, maybe.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

Oh, I’m a software guy. I graduated in Computer Science. I have a nice Android phone with gorgeous screen and camera, and that’s enough for me. Also, I have a tablet to read books and watch movies, and that’s pretty much it. One “gadget” I especially respect is a 1953 Russian semi-automatic rifle. This one has some spirit in it, you can feel it when you take it in your hands.

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

I’d like to have a working, I mean really portable and good for everyday use VR/AR device. Also, I’d like to have some kind of direct, wireless and screenless interface to the internet. You know, to be able to ask for some information and receive it instantly. To communicate with other people without screens and keyboards. That would be a real game changer.

Anything else you’d like to add/we should have asked?

I can only invite everyone to participate in our ICOs. There are tons of ICOs out there and I agree that most of them will flop. But ours is different: we already have a product in beta, our team is rock solid, we have plenty of experience, our cap is very modest and realistic. Maybe we’re not going to disrupt any industry, but we’re aiming at a big and growing market, and from a business standpoint what we’re doing is very sound.

Also, I’d like everyone to download and try our game from https://lordmancer2.io/. The game is not in appstores yet because it’s in beta, but it’s free and is quite playable already. It’s ready. Give it a try!

How do people get in touch with you?

My e-mail is [email protected], skype is bkmzbkmz, I’m in WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram by my mobile number +79120610015. My LinkedIn is https://www.linkedin.com/in/ilyamikov/


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking