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Software Success Story: Alawar Entertainment

by NotePage, Inc.

Alawar Entertainment was founded in 1997 by a group of Novosibirsk State University's students. Initially game development was a hobby, eventually the hobby became a steady job. Over the years Alawar's product line has expanded to include shareware games, PDA games for PocketPC and PalmOS and set top box games.

Russia's economic crisis in 1998 caused a great drop in prices on CD games. The prices of CD ROMs dropped to about $ 3-4.00 each, developers receiving only 10 cents for each copy sold. The significant price cutting made large and expensive game projects impossible. As a result Alawar turned to online marketing. Small shareware games were quick to develop, and it was easy to recoup investment costs.

Alawar's marketing department has evolved into a separate publishing house responsible for promoting partner projects. Currently Alawar works with almost 40 developers from both small and large companies. They also partner with independent developers, their current portfolio includes more than 120 games. Each month Alawar is responsible for the release of 5-6 new games.

Alawar has put together a great model for developers interested in ammortizing relationships they have partnership opportunities available for websites, software distributiors, resellers, affiliates, CD publishers, stores and software retailers.

When I asked Alawar what factors led to their success they emphasized their concentration on marketing.

"From the outset, we have focused on selling and marketing games through our highly-visited website. We have counted on advertising and first-rate support. That has allowed our company to accumulate assets for investing in new game projects, including our partners' developments. The quality of games increased and they became more popular worldwide."

"If we had focused on development and marketing hadn't been foremost, we wouldn't have achieved success even with first-class games. Today, the market is abundant in excellent games. The most important thing is to make customers interested in the games produced by your company."

"Special emphasis on marketing allows us to develop relations with colleagues who are also involved in shareware business. Furthermore, our company's representatives frequently take part in various game exhibitions and conferences, staging our best games and our partners' projects. Thanks to that, we had found many partners with whom we are working now and to whom we impute our success."

Currently Alawar Entertainment's team consists of 35 staff members. The majority of them work in Russia, but they also have representatives in the United States of America and Europe.

A complete view of Alawar's expanded product's and services can be found online at: their core business is game software and multimedia development, with online publishing and software distribution adding value to the core businesses

Future plans for Alawar include retruning to PDA games for PocketPC and PalmOS and possibly marketing games for mobile phones. Alawar also plans to increase the profile of their network of websites that specialize in computer game distribution, their current holdings include: a game shop at, the archive and the Games Banner Network GBN.

Alawar's advice to new developers starting out is simply, "Learn from your colleagues and from the market and don't be afraid of experimentations and new marketing ideas."

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for the NotePage and FeedForAll product lines.

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