We talked to Vladimir Kozinyi of MiroWin Studio about prospects in the VR segment, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Vladimir Kozinyi: Fortunately, COVID-19 did not directly affect us, but we are taking all precautions so that this and other viruses bypass us further.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MiroWin studio.
Vladimir Kozinyi: 4 years ago, as a man with an engineering and economic education I saw the prospects in the VR segment and decided to gather like-minded people and specialists in game development into one team.
Then I founded the MiroWin studio in Ukraine, which develops games for virtual reality headsets. To date, we have released 2 of our own games – western-shooter “Guns’n’Stories: Bulletproof VR” and sci-fi story-driven shooter “Boiling Steel”. They are available on Steam, Viveport, Oculus store both and Guns’n’Stories: Bulletproof VR additionally released on Playstation VR and Oculus Quest. We are working on the third game now – RU77. If necessary, we are engaged in outsourcing to maintain financial conditions.
How does MiroWin Studio innovate?
Vladimir Kozinyi: The global market for virtual reality games is progressing quite rapidly and we have no other option but to try to follow the trends and take the requirable steps in our own development. In particular, last year we were the first in the post-Soviet space to master the Oculus Quest VR glasses that were new at that time and released a game for this equipment. At the moment, we are mastering Oculus Quest 2. We are trying to keep our finger on the pulse of news from the world of new technologies for VR and the game industry.
The transition to the online mode of work allowed maintaining the efficiency of the team’s work and optimizing it due to new in-house organizational solutions.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Vladimir Kozinyi: In 2020, our target audience spent more time at home than usual. Thus, the decrease in our customers’ income due to the coronavirus balanced out with the increase in the amount of time available for games, which ultimately did not result in a serious drawdown in the sales of our games.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Vladimir Kozinyi: The difficult conditions that business in many countries faced last year did not affect our team. We have moved from working in the office to working online, retaining our team that has worked together over the years and are even expanding. In game development, the staff is perhaps the most valuable thing. The staff, its cohesion and the friendly atmosphere inside. This is especially important when quarantine restrictions cause instability in many areas and add uncertainty to the prospects for business development.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Vladimir Kozinyi: Our studio builds its work on close interaction with the gaming community. This allows us to analyze the reaction and expectations of the audience, to optimize our games before their final release in the stores. Support of the players in post-release time is also important for any game studio – we provide assistance with questions that arise when people use our products. For this, we have created and regularly update studio pages in all popular social networks and gaming stores.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Vladimir Kozinyi: We did not apply for state subsidies and grants and did not apply, therefore, we did not receive them. The studio is fully funded from the resources obtained as a result of operating activities – game sales and outsourcing.
Your final thoughts?
Vladimir Kozinyi: When we were among the first 4 years ago to start our journey on the VR market in Ukraine – a country where virtual reality has not yet become popular – it was assessed as a risky and hopeless business. Nevertheless, several years later we are glad that we managed to overcome the mistrust of many, create and independently published 2 games, become official partners of HTC Vive, Oculus, Playstation VR, Pico, Nolo, Huawei, launch the third game in development and become in demand as a professional outsourcing team.