A “Russian Electronic Arts” Incoming?!

Russian officials are considering creating a “Russian Electronic Arts” to save the country’s ailing games industry. It was one of several “frantic” ideas floated at a December meeting of government officials and representatives of the technology sector.


With the country’s plans for a national game engine alive, Russia has begun looking at other means of reviving its ailing gaming industry. At a meeting between officials and industry representatives at Russia’s Digital Development Ministry on December 15, the government began considering a federal project it calls “Toy Industry of the Future.” One possible option? “Let’s establish a Russian Electronic Arts company to help streamline the publishing of quality Russian games”. After all, the FIFA license now available.

According to materials seen by Kommersant, Russian authorities hope to create a new institutional system to stabilize and control Russian game development. In addition to the two bodies focused on regulating, researching and training the industry, officials also want to create an organization called “Rosgame”: A center for the “strategic development” of the Russian game industry, which will “renew and develop the industry” and “develop games and publishing’ would focus on.

The big bosses have three possible scenarios in mind for Rosgame, ranging from the unlikely to the absurd. The first, the so-called “stabilization scenario”, envisages an investment of 7 billion dollars, which by 2030 will result in the recovery of the game industry and Russia’s entry into the “top 20 game developing countries”. There is also an “ambitious scenario” that calls for an injection of $20 billion that would result in an “industry breakthrough.” Kommersant notes, perhaps ironically, that “the essence [of the industrial breakthrough] was not revealed” in the materials it saw.

But where the rubber bone really kicks in is the $50 billion “leadership scenario” that appears to see Russia’s gaming industry become a “soft power tool” by 2030 that could compete with gaming industry titans. In case you didn’t know, soft power refers to cultural influence – the power to persuade others to accept our values – as opposed to military and economic hard power.

The office of Dmitry Chernyshenko, Russia’s deputy prime minister for tourism, sports, culture and communications, clarified that the authorities have not yet figured out how to finance all of this and that the proposals will likely be “off-budget mechanisms”.

A document prepared by the non-profit agency for developing computer sports and other sports (ARKIVS) – whose representatives were also present at the December meeting – proposed specific goals for the future game industry project. Along with the creation of Russian Electronic Arts, ARKIVS envisions Russian game development to have one billion foreign users by 2030, produce four Russian game engines, and [deep breath] somehow produce two new game consoles. All this despite the fact that Russia is still under severe international sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine, and many toy companies have completely withdrawn from the country).

Doesn’t sound too likely, does it? If I had to bet, I’d say that many of these plans will be dramatically scaled back or completely frozen once they leave the discretion of the Ministry of Digital Development offices. Still, it is interesting to note that gaming plays a big enough role in the minds of Russian ministers – not only as an economic sector, but also as a tool of soft power – that several plans have emerged aimed at maintaining Russian gambling. With China also in the process of reassessing its hostility to games in the context of their use as a tool of cultural influence, the world’s superpower competition may affect our hobby sooner rather than later. At least better than before.

Source: PC GAMER

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