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Russian Online Gaming Companies Form Astrum Online Entertainment

by Rainier on Dec. 6, 2007 @ 4:23 a.m. PST

Nival Online, IT Territory, Time Zero and Nikita Online announced that they creating the largest player in the online entertainment market in Russia, Astrum Online Entertainment, allowing them to formalize a united strategy in regards to their activities and also utilize their combined experience and infrastructure.

"The creation of Astrum Online Entertainment – is the first, but long-awaited, large consolidation in the Russian gaming sphere", remarked Sergey Orlovskiy, president of Nival Online. "Currently, the combined companies’ market share in Russia is 45%, which makes Astrum Online Entertainment the leader of this sector by any measure. Our short-term plans through the end of 2008 will include increasing that share to 65%, as well as strengthening our position in neighboring CIS countries and internationally."

The online entertainment market in Russia is growing exponentially, and now is the best time to combine forces?, - announced Vladimir Nikolskiy, General Director of IT Territory. ?Acting separately in our sector of the market, each company would be spending time and money competing with each other, which would end in our inability to capitalize on bigger and better business opportunities. This union allows us, at a minimum, to use our partners’ combined infrastructure and technical solutions, while focusing our strength on our main activities.?

In 2007, the Online Gaming market in Russia was valued at nearly US$80M with annual growth close to 100%. In the opinion of the holding’s analysts, that rate of growth will continue for at least the next several years. The wide range of business opportunities is making the Russian market increasingly attractive to leading international companies, who have begin to expand their activities here. The creation of Astrum Online Entertainment was initiated by all the partners, in order to pursue two goals: consolidate their strengths in order to develop a high-quality Russian online games market, while competing with international leaders entering the Russian market, as well as allowing concurrent entry into Western markets.

"Currently, the online market in Russia is significantly different than those in America and Europe", says Boris Gertsovskiy, Vice President of TimeZero. "While there are many similarities, the tendencies and growth demonstrate a fixed attention on Asian business models. I’m speaking of Free-to-Play – games with a free client and no subscription, but with the ability to purchase or trade in-game money and additional items or abilities. Today, this model has been well-demonstrated in online browser games and is actively winning a segment of client-based games. The companies within the Holding are also focusing on this business model in their own projects, which, I am certain, will make online games more attractive to a mass audience."

"The companies uniting into this holding have a massive amount of experience developing online projects, an existing infrastructure and technical solutions", added the General Director of NIKITA Online, Stepan Zotov. "A significant portion of Russian-language players around the world prefer games by our companies. Coordinating our combined strengths, we can greatly increase the development of the Russian online market as a whole. Already today, we can confidently announce that the union of companies of this level in the Russian market indicates a serious strengthening of our position in the world."

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