Interview with Wargaming Managing Director for EMEA and NA
We got the chance to sit down with Frédéric Menou, Wargaming Managing Director for EMEA and North America to talk about the company, its past, its present and its future. Check it out!
QUESTION: First of all, thank you for giving us the possibility to interview you about Wargaming. Would you be so kind to introduce yourself to our readers?
Answer: My name is Frédéric Menou and I´m the Managing Director for EMEA and North America.
QUESTION: Which were the first steps and projects in your career?
Answer: I started in the customer support dept. of Orange and then joined Blizzard customer service moving up to Managing Director for Blizzard for 2 years and founded the Wargaming Europe office in Boulogne Oct. 2011.
QUESTION: Tell us something about the birth of Wargaming, how did everything start?
Answer: The company was founded in 1998 by Victor Kislyi- A total of 5 founders all friends and family. Victor has always enjoyed strategy games, you have to know that his favorite game is Civilization and has spent hours upon hours playing. Victor even drew strategy maps on the linoleum floors of his parents’ apartment as a child.
QUESTION: Which were the best and worst moments in the company's history?
Answer: The worst are also the best moments, right before the launch of WoT- Wargaming was close to bankruptcy, with funds for only one more month. They decided to launch World of Tanks which was its turning point because of the success in Russia afforded the opportunity that Wargaming could continue and look what it’s become today!
QUESTION: Which are Wargaming's plans for the future?
Answer: You have to know that Wargaming 1 year ago was a mono-platform and product company. In just one year we have become a multiplatform- multi product company. Expanding onto the Xbox 360 console, World of Warplanes, and soon to come, after the successful soft launch of Blitz in Scandinavia, we will be launching worldwide on iOS and Android shortly with 2 more products to come in the future, World of Tanks Generals and World of Warships.
This is already a huge undertaking, being MMO games means that they have a continuous evolution and the launch of such games is just the beginning. So we will be concentrating on these products to make sure that we keep our players happy with new content and quality gameplay.
However, I know you know that Chris Taylor is working on a new prototype game as well.
QUESTION: Are you planning to work on other projects besides the "World of" series in the near future?
Answer: Right now our focus is concentrating on the titles we currently have and the ones in production. It’s really in our DNA to work in these types of vehicles. The golden age of man-made machines and their power, and WG is really closely linked to history and is part of our legacy.
QUESTION: It's safe to say that with World of Tanks you made tanks very popular again, giving birth to a new sub-genre of "tanks games". Can you tell us something about this phenomenon and the market's reaction to World of Tanks?
Answer: I think that with World of Tanks we were hoping that it would be successful and had good reasons for that. Tanks are really popular in Eastern Europe, it´s something very cultural; you go to museums with your friends and family, pose with tanks, a T34 for example, so tanks are really imbedded in their culture. The idea to develop a game based on tanks wasn´t really far-fetched. What we didn´t expect was that MAYBE it would become such a phenomenon, but the gameplay takes the core values of multi-player games, it’s all about the strategy, the competition among your friends, and when you reach a critical mass of players, when you have your friends telling you should play, you join in, so there is a snowball effect- it’s part of its success.
QUESTION: You are not the only company that made successful planes and tanks war games. An example is Gaijin Entertainment and their War Thunder. Are you worried about the competition?
Answer: Not really. Competition is always good for the market and for the player. And honestly I´m much more concerned about the competition of World Cups this year and the effect it will have on our audience.
QUESTION: Tell us something more about the decision to expand in the mobile market. Do you think the market is ready for more complex mobile games?
Answer: The decision to expand into the mobile market was the same for Xbox 360. We wanted to expand our audience. We want to reach new players who don´t currently play on PC. What we have done in both cases, is adapt the game to this new audience. It is NOT a straight port. We keep its essence, but we adapt it to the platform.
So on mobile the interface is customizable and simplified at the same time. But the essence still remains.
QUESTION: Thank you for all your answers. Would you like to add something?
Answer: We would like to thank all the players for following us from the beginning, their value and feedback and my personal will would be to see more Western teams to compete in eSports with Russian teams. So why not a Spanish team?