World of Tanks Hits Southeast Asia

(Updated) “Like CounterStrike with tanks,” said Wargaming.net’s CEO, Victor Kislyi, underground in a World War II bunker in Singapore on Thursday morning.

Kislyi and his team from Wargaming,net, the Belarus-based independent PC game studio, were in town to launch their award-winning MMO World of Tanks for the Southeast Asian region. The press event was held in the Battle Box at Fort Canning Park, a World War II era bunker in which the papers surrendering Singapore to the Japanese were signed. Very apt a location for a World War era game!

During the hour long presentation deep within the bunker, Kislyi introduced the media to the very popular European MMO.

From 3am on the 26th of April 2012, players in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand were able to enjoy playing on servers closer to home. And the servers aren’t the only things local: support and content will also be customised to suit the region.

Developing World of Tanks was a brave move on Wargaming.net’s part. Previously publishers of single-player, standalone games, they took a chance with World of Tanks back in 2010. Unlike many MMOs and MMORPGs on the market these days, World of Tanks has a niche market. With tanks from the 1930s to the Korean War era (approximately to the 1950s), its target audience are World War II enthusiasts, and anyone interested in military warfare.

However, CEO Kislyi also noted that “all around the world, a tank is a tank.” From Russia, to China, to the littlest of red dots Singapore, everyone knows that a gun on a tank is used to shoot the other tank with. World of Tanks’ success in Russia encouraged it to expand into the rest of Europe, and then the USA, then China, and now, the rest of the world.

With a total of approximately 10.5 24 million registered users, World of Tanks’ servers see a lot of action. In 2010, the game broke the Guinness World Record of having the largest number of players logged on simultaneously in one server. In 2011, it broke it again.

As he demonstrated the game to the press, Kislyi remarked that they were expecting a growth of one million users in the region in a year. Not a difficult target to meet, considering how much the East loves the MMO genre compared to the West. From Singapore to Sarawak, gamers sing the praises of freemium MMOs.

But it’s not just how the culture here is slanted in their favour. Wargaming.net has also recognised the difference in the East and the West. Here in Southeast Asia, we appreciate our e-Sports. We take them seriously. So apart from just providing a whole lot of fun rolling over terrain and debris and shooting each other up, World of Tanks is also going to go competitive. That means prize money, tournaments, even global events where we can compete against the rest of the world. Wargaming.net means to build a community.

And with upcoming ‘sister’ games World of Warplanes and World of Battleships in development now (each game boasting dogfights and naval battles respectively), a community of one million Southeast Asian users doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

We got press accounts into the game, so stay tuned for a review of this ‘CounterStrike with tanks’ game.

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