Online military mega-success World of Tanks was originally shunned by Western publishers for being a free-to-play game, the developer has revealed.
Wargaming.net CEO and World of Tanks brigadier general Victor Kislyi made the comments at GDC Europe today, in a session attended by Eurogamer.
"They were very arrogant," Kislyi explained, recalling when the 35 million subscription MMO was first shopped around big-name publishers. "There were a number of things it was called.
"It was described as cheap, Asian stuff. And things worse than that."
"When this boxed business dies off, you know who's going to pay for your advertising?" Kislyi responded. "Us."
World of Tanks has been a huge success for Wargaming.net, with around 800,000 users playing at any moment worldwide. In two years the company has grown from 120 employees to over 1000, spread over 11 offices across the globe. "It's totally not enough people," Kislyi added. "We are stretched, and hiring like crazy."
World of Tanks' success was something his company's staff worked hard for, Kyslyi added, explaining that the game was not developed to a specific formula.
"When this boxed business dies off, you know who's going to pay for your advertising? Us."
Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming.net
"It wasn't by the book. There is no book yet."
One of the biggest issues for Wargaming was how to structure the game so players don't feel "squeezed" by obtrusive payments. But being too "soft and fuzzy" - giving too much content away for free - will mean no one pays.
"It is rocket science," Kislyi concluded.