The Entrepreneur Behind a Cryptocurrency Gaming Company With 3 Million Monthly Users
A Q+A with Playkey co-founder Egor Gurjev.
We have come across a very unique company, Playkey, which is also doing an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) right now. The company has made easier lives for online gamers and made millions by doing so.
We have interviewed Egor Gurjev who is the co-founder of Playkey, to find out more about the company and its success.
You have built a successful business. It took you three years to create profits. Can you tell what struggles have you faced in your early stage of company development and what kept you going forward?
Gurjev: Everything began in May 2012, five years ago already. The first commercial release was in the end of 2014. So it happened—until the end of 2012 we were working on the development of the platform and spent quite a lot time and resources. The technology itself is very complicated and knowledge-intensive, there are many stumbling blocks and details we should pay attention to. It is connected with the need to maintain different games from various publishers on one and the same platform.
By the way, I believe that a platform for just one game could be created in less than half of a year. In the end of 2014 that was a hit, a real catch for the video gamer who owned low-end PC and high-volume game demands. Since the beginning we have been dreaming about making a full-fledged gaming service with all kind of customer achievements, gaming statistics, various platforms support, an opportunity to purchase a video game right here right now, to play for a friend or to join his game. In December over 100 video games of all kinds were available in the Playkey’s roster. In the May the number of customers was gorgeous… 282 people! That seemed to be a huge failure. Without a hope for a better future.
At a certain point, we realized we absolutely needed to change the product development strategy. And at that time we succeeded to increase sales 20 times up within 10 months. We changed the strategy, we put the customer demands as a priority, we added top-notched hit video games and had a lot of talks with our customers asking what do they use and do they really need. And less than in a year—in March 2016, we had 200,000 registrations, 10,000 subscribers and 4,000 loyal paying users. The dynamics matter, not the absolute numbers.
And now in October 2017, we have 3 million users of Playkey platform a month, about 250,000 paying subscribers and over 30 million minutes spending our customers in a game monthly.
Playkey ICO—just a next step to scale up featuring the new technologies that bring us new opportunities.
You have created a multi-million dollar company, the Playkey. Can you tell more about what your company does and what’s the difference between already existing product and the new coming one?
Gurjev: Playkey net—the already existing centralized cloud gaming platform. Playkey’s technology allows gamers all over the world to purchase top-rated triple-A video games and play the latest and hottest titles—even the most modern and system-intensive ones— on most popular devices, including low-spec PCs and laptops and MacOS-based machines. Games are available “as is” with all of their specific features, including Multiplayer, social features and achievements. All that is needed is a decent internet connection. In fact, a 7-10 Mbps connection is enough to provide a good gaming experience.
Using a network of powerful gaming servers, Playkey runs games in the cloud and provides the user with a high-quality video stream of the game. The user interacts with the game in real-time through the Playkey client. This makes the user’s hardware and system configuration completely irrelevant. Video encoding and streaming technology which guarantees top-notch graphics and high processing speed. There is no longer any need to download and install a video game, or even to invest in expensive hardware. Playing in the cloud is now as easy as watching an online-video!
We have a network of 120 Nvidia Grid powered servers based in London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Moscow. And there are really high standards and requirements to Datacenters. It is harder and harder to find new servers for increasing number of Playkey video gamers. So, we decided to launch the Playkey Token Sale to organize the decentralized gaming platform, where miners—owners of high-end PCs—are also able to rent out their machines almost as well as we do now with servers.
Recently you have launched an ICO for first decentralized cloud gaming platform and you have a pre-sale open for it already. This sounds extremely interesting, could you open up what is the platform about and what a regular user do with it?
Gurjev: True, our current target within the ICO is to create an ecosystem, “The Playkey Ecosystem”, for cloud gaming and other use cases featuring dozens of independent owners of powerful computers worldwide (“miners”) united within a community and acting as cloud gaming service providers. In this world, miners get an efficient option to utilize their computational capacities that is more efficient, more stable, and less risky than cryptocurrency mining. Gamers will be able to choose the best and closest server for playing. Game developers and publishers will expand their client base. It’s a win-win model! There is a November only for a Token Sale—so, do not miss the chance to participate and joins us in creating a better digital video gaming world!
You definitely have a very interesting business concept. What are your future plans? Where do you see Playkey in 2020? Are you planning on getting a serious piece of gaming industry market share?
Gurjev: Thank you. We would expand to growing gaming market of Asia, as well as the USA, EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa), APAC (Asia and Pacific) and LATAM (Latin America). We will have covered all the main regions.
Our current target within the ICO is to create an ecosystem for cloud gaming. But our mission is to make a better digital world and to give an opportunity to play cool games worldwide on any kind of device connected to the Net.
When it comes to success and failures, what could you recommend for young entrepreneurs in terms of overcoming hard times and keeping the motivation levels up?
Gurjev: It is almost impossible to teach people not to make any kind of mistakes in order not to fail. So my advice is, make more mistakes. Realize that they are mistakes ASAP, draw the lesson and go ahead. The matter of time is crucial in business. The lifetime is not enough to avoid all kind of mistakes carefully. The business lifetime is even less. So, learn the lesson and go ahead.
Secondly, do not try to do a product you are excited about. Do the product the customers are excited about. Always talk to your clients, reveal their “pains”, find “gains” for them and offer it. If a client doesn’t want some features you offer - do not spend time on persuading how important and useful this feature is. It is better to spend months on learning your target audience before creating the product than do vice versa. That is a most common mistake of startups flying on the wings of the wish to change the world immediately.
And the last tip: Try not to dwell on one product. Develop various business lines. Who knows, what else could be successful one day?