Why Russia Can’t Into Vidya?

As their budgets have equalized with those of blockbuster movies, video games have likewise become a notable source of cultural influence. Meme phrases such as “the cake is a lie” (Portal), “war, war never changes” (Fallout), and “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee” (TES5: Skyrim) have become as recognizable as any movie one-liners, at least the Gen X and younger crowd. They produce Culture Points for the countries and factions that they are associated with. Wolfenstein and Far Cry have joined the neoliberalism.txt culture war against Trumpism. Minecraft can be considered a digital complement to the Scandinavian world penchant for blocky chick, as expressed in Lego and IKEA. Deus Ex has become to cyberpunk in video games as Neuromancer is to cyberpunk in literature, Ghost in the Shell is to cyberpunk in anime, and Blade Runner is to cyberpunk on the silver screen.

One fascinating development in the past decade has been the relative success of Eastern European countries at producing video games. Though Visegrad and the Ukraine are overshadowed by the Anglosphere – Toronto alone probably rivals their entire output – their per capita performance is entirely respectable to that of the rest of Europe.

But I wouldn’t say that this was entirely unexpected, because as opposed to movies, it is much easier for video games to enjoy success beyond the cultural space in which they were created. Anglophone culture is globally dominant, and the world’s stock of A-list celebrities is so concentrated in Hollywood that the US rules the roost here almost by default.


Mass Effect: Andromeda vs. The Witcher 3. 

Video games are different. You don’t need celebrity actors – you mainly just need a technically talented programming and design team, some competent (not necessarily brilliant) translators and localizers, and good marketers. Places like Eastern Europe can be highly competitive, since they have high human capital at highly competitive wages, and don’t have to bow down to SJW ideology like Western media companies, which annoys most gamers.

Most of Eastern Europe except Russia, anyhow, which curiously seems to be underrepresented in video game development. GameDevMap is a database of almost 5,000 global video game companies. The United States, as expected, is far in the lead, with 1,525 companies; Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK all have around 200-300 companies. Poland has 94, the Ukraine has 42, and Czechia has 39; Russia has just 73 companies, below Poland in absolute terms, and well below all of them in per capita terms.

This quantitative assessment is backed up by qualitative judgments, as I will shortly explain.

Poland Can Into Vidya

Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay.

Poland is a video game powerhouse, home to CD Projekt, the creators of The Witcher series – a more polished and much harder equivalent of The Elder Scrolls (though the latter is legendary for its wealth of mods). With the development of Cyberpunk 2077, they may well ouster the faltering Deus Ex series as the mainstay of cyberpunk in video gaming and come to become Europe’s equivalent of Bethesda, a behemoth that alternates between developing The Elder Scrolls (medieval fantasy) and Fallout (nuclear post-apocalypse). Poland also produced the Dead Island zombie FPS survival series, the Bulletstorm series, and emerging classic This War Of Mine.


Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Czechia also packs an incredibly hard punch for its demographic size. It has created the ARMA tactical FPS series, which is especially noted for its relative military realism. It grew out of Operation Flashpoint, which was released in 2001 and might have been the first Visegrad game to really make a splash. They also developed DayZ, which grew out of an ARMA mod; unfortunately, that project has been a complete failure, becoming a byword for the pitfalls of Steam’s Early Access program. Still, having spent many months in the top seller list, it must have nonetheless made Bohemia Interactive a lot of money. Space Engineers and Medieval Engineers are also both Czech games. I am not familiar with them, though the reviews I’ve read weren’t glowing with praise.

However, this doesn’t mean that the Czech video game industry is in the doldrums. Several months ago, new company Warhorse Studio released Kingdom Come: Deliverance, a first person RPG which has become famous for its degree of medieval realism – the architecture is very historically faithful, features the most accurate recreation of medieval swordplay of any major game, and comes accompanied by an in-game encyclopedia so that you actually learn things about medieval Bohemia. One of the more obvious things is that there weren’t any Negroes in that region in the 15th century. Chief developer Daniel Vavra’s resistance to SJW demands to “diversify” medieval Bohemia provoked leftist attempts to boycott the game; the happy reality is that it has sold very well and is becoming a classic in the genre.


Metro 2033

Stalker and Metro 2033 are both made by Ukrainian companies. Funnily enough, both are based on originally Russian cultural products – the Strugatsky brothers and Dmitry Glukhovsky, respectively. In a curious analogy, both the Strugatskys and Glukhovsky were/are dissidents against their surrounding culture – the “Land of the Unknown Fathers” in The Inhabited Island was too obviously a satire on the USSR to be unintentional, while Glukhovsky has come out as strongly pro-Ukrainian since 2014, to the extent of ruining the final book in his Metro trilogy with heavy-handed political commentary. Another great Ukrainian success was Cossacks, which might have been the first real time strategy game to feature hundreds of units operating smoothly on standard PCs – a stark contrast to Age of Empires II, which could support a maximum of no more than 125 units on the computers at that time without lagging.

World of Tanks, one of the world’s most popular military simulators, was developed in Belorussia.

Underrail, an RPG set in an underground post-apocalyptic world and the closest thing there is to the early Fallout games, was developed by a single dedicated Serb.


Mount & Blade: Warband (Napoleonic Wars mod)

Finally, I must commend the Turks for creating Mount & Blade: Warband, the best video game ever created. I hope they release Mount & Blade: Bannerlord sometime this century.

As for Russia… well, it’s been underperforming ever since Tetris, created by a Russian, with 90%+ of profits accruing to a Japanese corporation thanks to the USSR’s complete inability to commercialize anything. For whatever reason, the only sustained success Russia has had in video games seems to be in air combat simulators: The Su-27 Flanker and Il-2 Sturmovik were some of the best in the genre, and the tradition continues with War Thunder. Otherwise, the only game that comes to mind is Pathologic, which is extremely niche, even if it has become a cult classic (perhaps Pathologic 2, currently in development, will draw a bigger player base).  Escape from Tarkov, a gritty multiplayer FPS, also seems promising.

Nonetheless, all post-Tetris Russian games combined don’t add up to the individual cultural impact of just Stalker, The Witcher, or even World of Tanks.

So why is Russia lagging on the games front?

I don’t think it’s brain drain, as commenter Daniel Chieh suggests. This should be even truer for East Europeans (Poles, Czechs, now even Ukrainians) who have access to Western labor markets – but as per above, all of those places are extremely productive. And it’s not a big deal for IT anyway. There’s plenty of IT jobs where you can earn Western salaries doing projects remotely while enjoying East European living costs. I know a few such people in Moscow alone.

It is because Russia is too underdeveloped? Well, if the Ukraine can create high-end video games – with a market that’s ten times smaller and an even worse business climate – then Russia certainly should be able to. Moreover, I have a theory that certain forms of backwardness – specifically those characterized by high average IQ coupled with bad institutions, instability, and a surfeit of roving bandits – should actually be GOOD for video games. In such an environment, there will be few people willing to built anything substantial like a multi-billion dollar factory (hence why Ukrainian heavy industry continues to coast on the ever depreciating Soviet legacy). But how much capital do you need to launch a middle-sized video game studio? Can’t imagine it’s much more than $100,000. Most of the value is in the brains. And if instability strikes, you just bug out to someplace like Cyprus or Malta (like 4A Games, the makers of the Metro series, did in 2014).

soviet-scaleThis would explain the remarkable fact that the Ukraine of all places has had more success with making successful video games than Russia, even to the extent of adopting Russian content, with the occasional amusing Ukrainian twist. For instance, in Metro 2033, ROGPR founder Kirill Nesterov once drew my attention to the fact that the abandoned stores in post-apocalyptic Moscow had Soviet-style scales (see right) – even though they had long since vanished from Russia’s capital by 2013, which is when the nuclear war is supposed to have begun. We can only assume that such scales survived in the Ukraine for much longer.

Unexpectedly, and paradoxically, another explanation might be that Russia is too advanced.

Due to its semi-closed IT market, and reasonably large economies of scale, it is the only European nation that has managed to build a comprehensive and at least partially autarkic IT ecosystem of the sort that only fully exists in the United States and China. Unlike Eastern Europe, there are legitimate tech giants in Russia. Yandex is not only Eurasia’s foremost search engine, but also runs its main cartographic resource (Yandex Maps), one of the region’s major payments processors (Yandex Money), and a very competitive taxi service (Yandex Taxi) which it plans to augment with self-driving cars through AI development. Kaspersky is one of the world’s premier anti-virus companies. 1C Company produces the most widely used accounting software in the former USSR. Vkontakte is a full-fledged, if inferior, analogue to Facebook; it is controlled by Mail.ru group, which also owns Qiwi, another major payments processor. These examples can be expanded on at length.

Consequently, I submit that there are three main factors as to why Russian tech is much less video game-“loaded” than the rest of Eastern Europe:

  1. I assume that Russia’s own, partially independent IT ecosystem soaks up a much larger share of the local programming talent than is the case in East-Central Europe, where the great bulk of the IT ecosystem is an extension of Silicon Valley.
  2. Since Russian non-IT companies are much less integrated into the global economy than East-Central Europe, I assume that its financial, oil & gas, and even defense companies will also soak up a relatively larger share of the local programming talent.
  3. Finally, again thanks to Russia’s IT ecosystem being partially separate from the West, there may also be more money to be made making Russian analogues of American apps and platforms. After all, if such apps already exist and are successful, there is a good chance that they would also be successful in Russia, whereas the commercial success of a video game is far less predictable. It is therefore illogical for Russian tech entrepreneurs to go into video games.

If these arguments are broadly accurate, then we should not expect a video game renaissance in Russia anytime soon. On the other hand, I suppose it is an adequate price to pay for having one’s own IT ecosystem.

I also expect that much the same arguments will apply to China, which has not produced many (any?) video games of note either.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. 1C Company games are great! Like most Russian games they rely heavily on being technical. For example Soldiers/Faces of War/Men of War is Company of Heroes + Commandos on steroids. Only players with balls of steel can handle it.

    But on a more serious note we all know HEZBOLLAH is the greatest game developer on the planet. Observe:


    If I can pull myself away from Jagged Alliance 2 and HMM3 I’ll play one of the nineteen-hundred pirated versions I have of Warband…. one day… one day…

  2. I also expect that much the same arguments will apply to China, which has not produced many (any?) video games of note either.

    It is common in China to simply copy the format of popular foreign games (ex. League of Legends, Pokemon Go).

  3. Daniel Chieh says

    My wife really enjoys some “Idol City” mobile game from China. I don’t see the point of those, but there does seem to be a lot of mobile games. The obsession with monetization is annoying though.

  4. Chinese game developers simply have a different objectives and different market than Eastern Europe does. Vastly different. The ban on consoles and rampant software piracy meant that in order to monetize, the Chinese industry had to go in a direction that stressed online games, thus a focus on mmos at first and now mobile games. The Chinese accidentally stumbled upon one highly profitable revenue stream that Western developers didn’t catch onto until quite a bit later and have still have now yet to exploit fully, DLCs and Loot Boxes. Eastern European developers make games for Western “retail” gamers. Chinese game developers make highly tailored skinner boxes designed for maximal addiction to a broad of an audience as possible. A single android Moba game you’ve probably never even heard of, Honor of Kings, made 1.9 billion USD last year. That amount I am fairly certain is more money than every single Eastern European made game made last year combined. A lot of Western retail gamers hate the trend of the “mobile hell” creeping into their games, but Western publishers and Investors see the monetization ability and drool. There were 5 mobile games that cleared more than 1 billion USD in revenue last year. 4 of them were owned by Chinese publishers and 1 was Japanese. Compared to the money and player count of Chinese games, the Eastern Europeans are in effect making niche titles in the bush league. Tencent is already the biggest gaming company by in revenue and China is the largest gaming market, its just that their tastes are very different than gamers in the West. Even triple AAA titles from the biggest Western publishers like EA cant match the consistent revenue streams and more importantly, pure profitability, that the Chinese are raking in with their games.

  5. Daniel Chieh says

    It really isn’t helping the quality of games and insofar as soft power goes, the fact that they appear to be largely artistically null and void makes it really meh. Pretty, well-drawn and largely soulless. Hopefully this will change.

  6. The internet thinks my yandex email account is spam. This happened around 2015. I suspect it’s sanctions.

  7. I don’t necessarily think that is a good thing.

    If Chinese game developers can make a lot of money simply through following a formula, what incentive do they have to create good, original games?

  8. china hasn’t created any important video games either. but they sure do play a lot of them. one billion nerds who cannot create software of any kind, really. note how this is not limited to software – this is pretty much how china operates in almost every field. almost no original output whatsoever.

    the objection about how they can ‘just copy’ stuff doesn’t work. why don’t other nations ‘just copy’ then? japan can create video games. korea can create video games. they could also ‘just copy’. but they create. it is only china and the china diaspora that cannot create, almost anything original of any importance. china has over one billion people, literally millions of engineers, and does not sell a single automobile in the US.

    india cannot even do that it seems. they can’t even copy competently when it comes to video games. india so far off the radar, they weren’t even mentioned here.

    russia is bad at this, but at least escape from tarkov is actually good. it’s played by some of the best FPS players on twitch.

  9. Chinese soulessness strikes again

  10. Glukhovsky has come out as strongly pro-Ukrainian since 2014, to the extent of ruining the final book in his Metro trilogy with heavy-handed political commentary.

    Wow… that’s depressing. I remember reading an old interview, where he basically said that “the West should realize that Russia has legitimate national interests too.” So what the hell happened?

    I haven’t read any of the books, but I finished Metro 2033 recently. I guess really need to sell my PS4 copy immediately (sorry for being a peasant), too bad I didn’t even buy it used, as I usually do. (But I won’t be able to delete Metro 2033 from my Trophy list… Sad! First world problems.)

    So the upcoming third game is based on the third book? It’s also their first new game (not including the “remasters”), since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, I think?

    Man, it’s probably going to be full of political BS. With Putin-Trump derangement syndrome and all that, it’s going to be a perfect fit for the current mainstream Western market. Another soft power victory… Not that the Western opinions should matter that much for Russia at this point anyway.

    @ Duke of Qin:

    Eastern European developers make games for Western “retail” gamers. Chinese game developers make highly tailored skinner boxes designed for maximal addiction to a broad of an audience as possible.

    Yeah, and that sucks. I’m already losing interest in “AAA” games. Are they starting to focus on more “high-budget,” single-player games at all? Any trends towards that? There must atleast be some smaller studios creating such content? I’d really like to buy some Chinese games in the future.

    @ blah blah:

    Just like Russia, and to an even greater extent, China has its own ecosystem and a huge market. South Korea especially is small in comparison.

    Also, were those two countries major exporters of popular culture back in the 50s and 60s (Japan) or in the 80s and even 90s (Korea)? Give China some more time to develop.

    And isn’t Korea’s gaming culture quite similar to that of China? I can’t think of any South Korean video games… oh, except one: Guild Wars (I have never actually played it though).

  11. What a shame.

  12. 1. I assume that Russia’s own, partially independent IT ecosystem soaks up a much larger share of the local programming talent than is the case in East-Central Europe, where the great bulk of the IT ecosystem is an extension of Silicon Valley.

    Well, one way or another, the talent is soaked and taken away from video games. Like half the people I know work for HP and VMware and SAP alone.
    HP especially employs a ludicrous amount of people here.

    I think those powerhouses like Poland and Czechia you mentioned are indeed powerhouses because they neither have their own IT giants like in Russia, nor are they oversaturated with Western companies outsourcing for cheap labor, like Bulgaria (the only thing of note coming out of here recently was Surviving Mars.)

  13. Pathfinder: Kingmaker, isometric fantasy rpg of the Baldur’s Gate variety, is currently in development by a Moscow based studio. It’s holding up very well to American AA games like Pillars of Eternity 2. They have Chris Avellone working on the project, the writer behind a lot of the classics in the genre, so there’s that.

  14. Sarcastically put, I can just see a video game centered around this chap:



    Contrary to what someone suggested, he had/has nowhere near the popularity of Skoropadsky, whether in the past or present. An exception being some of those with a decidedly pro-Hapsburg orientation.

    Another game could involve the advice of Andreas Umland, on how the Tatars are the indigenous (sic) people of Crimea, in conjunction with why pro-Russian sentiment in Crimea is a canard – despite conflicting realities as detailed here, along with a more complete historical accounting of the Crimean Tatars from what Umland (and some others) have stated:


  15. DestroyedByWOW says

    Video games are a tool of ZOG to destroy the white race. How many white boys who are “gamers” get girls? Virtually none, and the ones who do all have Asian GFs. That spells doom for white fertility, and thus the white race.

    Gaming is degenerate and evil. No healthy country would permit its boys and young men to castrate themselves the way video games do.

  16. Video games are a tool of ZOG to destroy the white race. How many white boys who are “gamers” get girls? Virtually none, and the ones who do all have Asian GFs. That spells doom for white fertility, and thus the white race.

    It is more likely that boys are gamers because they cannot get girls, if they cannot get a girl, raise families and do all the other things associated with that, then what are they expected to do with their free time?

    While I agree that jews are determined to end the white race, games were not a tool that jews used to achieve their goal (until very recently). The ending of traditional relationships already started decades ago ago with things like feminism and Hollywood propaganda.

  17. Mobile “gamers” are a lower life form than console peasants.

  18. Another German Reader says

    The Gaming industry is quite dependent on invidual persons.

    Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto): Dan Houser

    Crytek (Far Cry, Crysis, Son of Rome): Yerli brothers

    ID Software (Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein): John Carmack, Jon Romero

    Epic Games (Unreal; Fortnite): Cliff Blezinski

    Konami (Metal Gear Solid): Hideo Kojima

    Nintendo: Shigero Miyamoto

    Maybe we need to find out why Russia lack those specific guys. In the West and in Japan those guys were crucial in the beginning of those companies/franchises.

  19. Thanks, I suppose the ban on consoles explains a lot.

    Though I imagine there should still be a big market for PC gaming, what with its 1.4 billion population.

    For instance, the Chinese have become infamous for their heavy presence (and heavy cheating) on PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

    I imagine that a Chinese company that releases a similar product but catering more towards Chinese gamers should be successful.

  20. That’s a bit of an overreaction. I mean, about half of the Russian cultural elites are anti-Putin and pro-Ukrainian, so…

    And I have no idea (nor care much for) the political affiliations of 4a Games.

    Metro 2033 (both book and game) are very good. Metro 2034 (game) is very good, book is more meh. Metro 2035 (book) is more of a political allegory, as per above; what the game will be like, I have no idea. Though the trailers are promising.

  21. No idea Surviving Mars was Bulgarian. Reviews seem quite good.

  22. cool – i’ve been replaying Baldur’s Gate with different characters all summer


    and don’t have to bow down to SJW ideology like Western media companies, which annoys most gamers.

    this will be increasingly important i think

  23. anonymous coward says

    Vidya is for 30-year-old boomers. It’s dying out. For the kids these days playing vidya is as glamorous and stimulating as watching state-run TV.

    P.S. My kids play cardboard boardgames. Russia is a latecomer but pretty big in this regard.

  24. Daniel Chieh says

    Getting Chris is a huge win. No Feargus Urquhart though, a pity given the excellence of Fallout NV – I also went over Feargus’ design work for Van Buren. Simply amazing the detail that man puts into his labor, truly an artist who loves his product, something which I fear is increasingly lost as development feels really mechanized sometimes.

  25. Player counts beg to differ.

  26. One of the more obvious things is that there weren’t any Negroes in that region in the 15th century. Chief developer Daniel Vavra’s resistance to SJW demands to “diversify” medieval Bohemia provoked leftist attempts to boycott the game; the happy reality is that it has sold very well and is becoming a classic in the genre.

    Because living under a feudalistic system running a somewhat borderline economy with wars going off left and right is pure White Privilege and Der Schwarze must be totally part of it.

  27. anonymous coward says

    Eyeball counts for state-run TV dwarf everything else put together. Eyeball counts is the wrong metric, the more eyeball counts, the lamer the media. The lamest video games (mobile pay-to-win skinner boxes) get the highest eyeball counts.

  28. Anatoly should take a look at the demoscene, because this is the quiet reason Eastern Europe punches far above its weight IT-wise. Just off the top of my head, demoscene groups gave us Max Payne and the whole FarCry – Crysis lineup, but this DNA is scattered all over the region.

    The scene is more or less depleted now, with little in the way of new names, but boy does the old guard like Exceed or Farbrausch impress with technological powerplays. Russia also had a couple of groups, but these guys probably went full pro even earlier than the others.

    Well, warez scene in general is a great reserch topic still waiting for its historian.

  29. The market for high budget single player games in China simply does not exist. The problem with AAA titles is that the development costs are very high, the risk on return is similarly high especially for new IP, the time for development also tends to drag out for a long time. In fact, these very same constraints are also somewhat killing the Western market as well, with publishers scorning risk taking and focusing on an ever shrinking pile of established properties and ever growing number of sequels. Mobile game developers and “mobile like” are on the ascendant in China thanks to a confluence of factors, wider audience due to lower barriers of entry. No need for a 1080 gtx or even an ps4, lower overall development costs. Longer profitability tail from extended support. Big single player PC games are kind of like movies, all the money is front loaded and then sales slow to a trickle. Social and competitive multiplayer games have much longer and bigger revenue streams. Ability to concurrently develop multiple titles and bin the less promising ones at little cost. No one can afford to do that with AAA titles where the development costs pile into the hundreds of millions. That isn’t to say single player games in China don’t exist, they do, but they are all Indie, super niche, and low budget because of the market conditions. Thus no translations. Big budget games developed in China outside of the mobile offerings tend to be MMO’s.

    Also for some inexplicable reason, Chinese publishers never seem to actually bother to localize their games for export. Eastern European developers make their games with the US/EU market in mind at the outset while their Chinese counterparts are very insular.


    Top 10 games by revenue (iOS) in the big 3 markets. You’ll notice that the EU and US are quite similar with a lot of overlap. The Chinese market is a different beast entirely with 9 of the top 10 Chinese domestics unknown to the rest of the world and number 10 a Japanese game also virtually unknown to the West. Even the top grossing game, Honor of Kings, never got a localization until I think the beginning of this year after it already had been released for some time.

    Yes the Korean gaming market and it’s economics are very similar to China’s and for very similar reasons. Software piracy and a de-facto console ban, though this stemmed from anti-Japanese attitudes rather than a Communist anti-fun puritanism. Same focus on MMO’s and multiplayer games, rising mobile dominance. Korean games export very easily to China and Korea is virtually the only market that Chinese PC gaming publishers even make an effort to localize and export their games to as well. Biggest difference is that South Korea is too small of a market on its own so their publishers do tend to make an effort to publicize their games in the West. There is also a big psychological difference between Korean/Chinese games and Western ones in that the former tend to be Grindy and the monetization strategies of the publishers really turns off most Western players aside from those with a more autistic bent who feel right at home.

  30. Several months ago, Avellone began to write extensively about the shenanigans at Obsidian, and about Urquhart’s behaviour specifically, during his work there. If even half of his allegations are true, then Urquhart is an incompetent buffoon

  31. Daniel Chieh says

    Could you link? Interesting. Great men and faults and all that jazz.

  32. Daniel Chieh says

    Well, warez scene in general is a great reserch topic still waiting for its historian.

    AK! Cyrptzoology of the 400 lb Russian hackers requested!

  33. OT


    So Russia finally managed to identify the suspects, and they say they “hope” they’ll identify themselves in front of TV cameras.

  34. It kicked off on rpgcodex.net, but the guys there collated all of his posts in that time period into one document:


  35. Daniel Chieh says

    Hate to say it, but Feargus comes off like a lot of brilliant assholes. A great talent who never ever should have been put in a position of power.

    What a disappointing human being.

  36. Daniel Chieh says

    No Vidya in future white ethnostate, make great country.

  37. Information wants to be free. Movement for free cryptography literally started there, on old BBSes and release lists, by people very different from neckbeard soy scum infesting muh hacker conventions today.

    Not a laughing matter.

  38. Daniel Chieh says

    I was joking. I grew up on BBS and newsgroups, on the promises of cyberpunk and wild freewheeling discussions on everything, in the days of secret crackz and warez. One of my old acquaintances helped develop SSL and then spent millions trying to revive text games like a good nerd.

    I miss the old Internet, trust me.

  39. Very interesting, thanks for the info.

    Well, at least single player games exist. I actually just started learning Chinese, so I’d would like to play some Chinese (single player!) games someday, no translations needed.

    But of course I hope they start translating more of them eventually, I guess that is inevitable to some extent. But yeah, that’s totally foreign to me. I’d just like to play PS2-era games forever.

    Do people there even have PCs at home? They only use them at work and at internet cafes or something? I honestly don’t know, but it seems that the internet is very mobile-centric in most emerging markets. That… “reality” is obviously pretty noticeable in the West as well, but I’m quite out of the loop when it comes to mobile devices in general to be honest.

  40. Karlin’s interesting post.

    But fellows: playing games on console is usually more healthy, as it gets you timeoff from your computer.

    Also nowadays the best tvs are much higher quality, than computer screens, let alone laptops.

    As for “Console peasants” – some kind of internal contradiction. New console gaming is much more expensive, and less accessible, to peasants. I have to say ,sadly this is the real reason for relative popularity of PC gaming in Russia, compared to console gaming.

  41. Daniel Chieh says

    Games on consoles largely lack the complexities of PC gaming. The mockery is not without basis at all: it’s difficult to do a Dwarf Fortress, Rimworld or Starcraft on consoles. Let’s not even talk about modding scene.

    By and far, the technological edge and it’s gaming association will be PC. It’s also far closer to the “wild west” world of technology that Karlin and I were from.

  42. Update – on the /r/russia thread, it appears that the lack of proper Russian video games is also thanks to them focusing on shitty mobile products.

    Died? More like migrated onto mobile platforms (Playrix, Playkot, TAPCLAP, RS Technologies, Kefir, etc) and ventured into neighboring IT industries where they are less dependent on success of singular title. In purely commercial terms Playrix is much bigger and more successful than today everyone favorite like CD project RED.

  43. But fellows: playing games on console is usually more healthy, as it gets you timeoff from your computer.

    Also nowadays the best tvs are much higher quality, than computer screens, let alone laptops.

    If a console device is too expensive or don’t have the games one wants to play then a make-shift solution is to connect the computer to the TV and use a console controller.

  44. Eight years ago I played a lot of Space Rangers 2, which is a Russian game. I loved the evolving open world and the text quests, although it got a bit repetitive. I didn’t like the real time strategy parts. As a mix of three or four different types of games all in one, it worked very well and was addictive. I also realized later that a Heroes of Might and Magic game I was playing (I think IV or V) was made in Russia.

  45. In Russian internet, antagonism to consoles is due to prices. Majority of peasants who complain about consoles, simply because their much higher price (especially when most do not even pay for PC games). These people usually haven’t played the relevant consoles.

    As for why consoles are healthier – only because it gets you away from the computer, for a break.

    I have bad childhood memories of wasting whole nights on “total war”, and others. PC games are a contributor to computer addiction.

    Console allows you to get away from your computer, which most of us are working on all day. Much greater distance from the screen, the controllers, and much larger screen of TV – also more refreshing and healthy.

  46. Daniel Chieh says

    Have a child. Your computer will never monopolize you again.

  47. Aren’t there still bastions of the old internet as it was before the endless horde of normie extrovermin progressively destroyed it?
    Don’t BBS and USEnet still exist?
    Or are they just dusty old catacombs now?

    Can you please classify the history of the internet into different eras?
    For example, 1993’s Eternal September and 2007-present’s ongoing homogenization by social media and becoming brand-safe to be another advertisement vehicle just like TV and radio.

    Blackpill: China’s internet shows what the future holds for the rest of the web.
    The only question is whether it will take 5 or 10 years to catch up to their level of censorship, tracking, and brazen state control.

  48. Why would anyone invest in a project that would take half a decade at least and might not make any money when they can just pump out shitty apps and sell them to stupid kids and women? Publishers don’t want to deal with ambitious long term projects, programmers want to get thrice the local average wage because there is at least one outsourcing tech company in every major Russian city (22-Year-Old Gets Job At Website.jpg). It’s as simple as that and it’s about the same in Eastern Europe. Most Eastern European companies that make good games today started back in 90s or early 00s when smartphones weren’t a thing and working directly for westerners was harder. Russian companies from back then either didn’t survive early 10s or switched to other markets.

  49. Bies Podkrakowski says

    China has ban on consoles? Truly it is the Celestial Kingdom.

  50. Lolwhat. Your run-of-the-mill samsunk TV has horrible image latency, various “image improvements” that destroy the picture which you can never turn off and it looks like shit to boot.

    Couch potato consoletards will always be just that.

  51. In the mid 1990’s Russia was a leader. Oleg Maddox’s studio in particular did quite well, even after Maddox himself vanished into a haze of hashish. They developed rather good 3D rendering for the time.

  52. The game Kingdom Come cost “hundreds of millions CZK” to develop. About 37 million CZK (1.8 mn US$) was obtained via crowdfunding, much of the rest was investment by a Czech billionaire. More than 200 people worked on the game. It was years and years behind the schedule, but that’s not something unique.

    The widely publicized lack of negroes in the game was unbelievable marketing luck, it made its existence known among ordinary people. In February this year the gaming company announced 1 million sold copies.

    There are quite a few unique games developed in the Czech Republic, for example Machinarium ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machinarium ), but they lack massive marketing budget.