Software Success Story: Alawar
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
When I asked Alawar what factors
led to their success they emphasized their concentration
"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
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 http://www.alagame.com,
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 http://www.feedforall.com