Mail.Ru are collaborating with Epic Games to find and support upcoming game developers. Epic's Unreal engine is one of the most-licensed engines in the industry today, connecting them to hundreds if not thousands of potential future partners.
For other luminaries of the free-to-play model, see the best free games on PC.
Epic will help Mail.Ru’s Games Division (MRGV) to find the most promising new studios, and the two will work together to support their work. Devs will be able to apply for funding from MRGV, who can also offer analytical tools, marketing instruments, data security technologies, and gaming services such as marketplaces. Epic will help with game development, and are - naturally - the best people to offer pointers on using Unreal engine.
Mail.Ru are a Russian internet company who own My.Com, which provide internet services and make free-to-play PC games such as Warface and Revelation Online. They are looking to expand their offering through this initiative, both on PC and other platforms.
As for the kinds of games we might see, MRGV tell us investments will be decided on a case by case basis, with no preferences according to genre - many factors will be considered “to see if the project and the studio have growth potential.” Developers will be treated as partners: “our division want to preserve the independence of studios we work with, and doesn’t want to be considered a publisher,” they say. The IP will remain with the developer.
Devs are even promised some say in where their game appears. My.Com have their own launcher, but MRGV leave open the possibility of bringing their new games to Steam. The decision will be made alongside the developers “to optimise the experience for our PC users.”
Asked about the biggest challenges facing developers today, MRGV say catching your attention is a problem regardless of a studio's size - both indies and triple-As tend to need a huge marketing budget and expertise. Accounting for the ways that free-to-play versus premium monetisation models differently affect game design was also said to be difficult.