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In the futurologist’s prognosis, computer games will become more important than real lives for millions of people. Of course, prognoses are usually exaggerated but even today, people are actively learning how to win in virtual battles. Proclass team builds a business on this desire - a whole academy of gaming. Madiar Karataev, the CEO of the team, tells us about the product’s peculiarities and perspectives of continuous growth.
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I’m a gaming fan myself, I have loved computer games since childhood. All my life I wanted to work in this industry. Along with partners, I launched a network of computer clubs in Kazakhstan — we have three clubs in two main cities.
In our clubs, clients often ask administrators for some assistance in the game. Someone is interested in learning basic things and just an easier way to enter the world of gaming. People of all ages are asking for this, the stereotype “computer games for young people” is clearly outdated.
More experienced gamers are constantly looking to improve their skills and reach new heights. Questions about this are also often asked on the administrators’ desk in our clubs. We see a constant and big demand for learning how to play games.
In order to play better, Today, gamers can just jump into the sea of tutorial videos on Youtube and streams on Twitch to learn how to play better. There is a vast deal of content and it is hard not to get lost in it. The information becomes outdated very quickly — every one and a half to two months, game developers release updates and almost all information about a particular game becomes outdated.
The language barrier is still a problem: the best content is available in English, which is not on a decent level among users from the CIS. All these factors create a demand for an accessible, qualitative and up-to-date education of gaming.
Proclass includes three products — workshops from top-eSportsmen, personal coaching and mentoring, and an online school of gaming. Altogether, it is a platform for gamers’ skill growth. We even might say, University of Gaming.
We launch products one by one. Starting from workshops, we see the demand. Then we add coaching and online school as the next stages of development. As of today, we are ready with the platform to be launched, as well as, first workshops from two award-winning eSpotsmen.
Our workshops are a series of video-lectures, which are constantly updating as the new game patches are coming out. You can’t just put a top player in a game on stream and record his game with comments, there is already quite enough of this on the network. We have our own methodology for building workshops. We have a division into topics and blocks, a certain sequence of presentation, analysis of typical mistakes and several other elements. The methodology was developed by Sergey Maligerli.
Coaching sessions are going to be held in the format of an online tutorial with a coach. The coach will be able to watch the students’ gameplay, pay attention to mistakes and problematic moments, guide, give recommendations and even more with the help of our platform. We are planning to hire 25 coaches by the middle of 2021.
The online school is quite a perspective direction for us. Due to the rapid development of the industry, there is a constant demand for eSportsmen. On the other hand, there are many youngsters, who want to show what they’re worth and become a part of a cool team. We’ll accept promising e-athletes and train them to the level where they will be interesting to the top teams.
The monetization of services is pretty clear and simple. We’re selling access to workshops and coaching on a subscription for a period, also, it is possible to buy a specific lesson or coaching session. The price of the half-a-year workshop subscription is $40. For this money, the buyer receives constantly updated lessons on the lead games from professionals.
The online school of gaming will be partially monetized by selling players to teams and partially by selling educational services to students.
COVID-19 pandemics has significantly disrupted our agenda — there is no possibility to record video-lessons, as all studios are closed. We were ready to launch in May, but then we moved the launch to October.
In April 2021, we will add the personal coach feature on our platform, and then in three months, we are planning to launch our online school. In the first half-a-year, we plan to have 5 000 subscribers and 7 000 sales of lessons.
Another great goal is to launch an AI-based personal game assistant. He will “live” on the user’s computer and follow his game, helping with advice at the right time: do not buy this item, better buy that one, shoot like this, not like that. Like if the coach is always there.
We are launching in the CIS market because there are almost no competitors here and we will be the first. Then, we will move to Southeast Asia — this is the world’s largest game market. (Statistics — https://newzoo.com/insights/rankings/top-10-countries-by-game-revenues/) There are plans to reach an English-speaking audience.
Two or three years ago, I would agree with the statement, that the CIS market is quite small and our users don’t want to pay for intellectual property. But the situation changes and gamers started to spend more money on games. The statistics say that in Russia, spendings have grown by 2,4 times a year (https://www.rbc.ru/business/15/05/2020/5ebe05259a79475b05b28ad1)
The reason for this growth lays in the accessibility of gaming devices and attitude change towards gaming. Some more figures — 30% of the gamer’s expenses from the CIS fell on in-game purchases. So we also have an attention-worthy market with a volume of more than two billion dollars in 2020. It grows by 15–20% from year to year. (https://venturebeat.com/2020/01/22/yandex-russian-game-market-doubled-in-five-years-to-2-billion/).
As of today, the market for educational services in cybersport is rather a “blue ocean”. We can highlight a few large companies, which you should better keep track of. Among them is gamerzclass from Denmark, that has attracted $1,8 million of investments. This being said, they are only selling workshops. proguides from America is working 5 years already and makes a claim for the leadership, and they’ve attracted $7,5 million over five years. Surprisingly, these resources contain a lot of outdated workshops. Quite possibly, the administration just cannot catch up with updating everything in time.
Our main indirect competitor is boosting. In plain English, it’s when a professional player boosts the account for the money. This is the way how people reach their in-game goals — reach a specific level, complete a quest, etc. Gamers are urged to pay boosters, just because they cannot reach their goals on their own.
Boosting is strictly prohibited in all popular games; players’ accounts can be banned forever after boosting. But the demand is still there. The purchase of in-game items can also be included in this category. This is a way to compensate for insufficient playing skill for money. Gamers resort to it when the skill is not enough.
In general, people are keen to enjoy the achievement of goals, awareness of their strengths. Therefore, most gamers will choose to improve their skill before the opportunity to achieve goals for money.
In theory, you can learn how to play by watching the streams of top players. This is what millions of gamers are trying to do. But it will take a lot of time and effort to learn from them the same information, which is presented in a structured form in workshops. It’s like putting together your own symphony orchestra just by listening to classical music.
I worked in a banking and investment company, but I always wanted to do what I love. Along with my partners, we launched a network of computer clubs. Oleg Levitsky, my partner and CTO, has launched a few projects with a revenue of $1 billion a year. We’ve worked more than two years together in Wipon company, where Oleh was also a CTO.
Sergey Li, a coach of award-winning CS:GO teams, is responsible for a methodology of education. The chief video editor is Mark Oposhnianskiy, one of the most talented specialists in the CIS for gaming production; he’s produced content for Razer, SteelSeries, Avangar, GG.bet, Lenovo.
We work distributedly, part of the team in Kazakhstan, part in Ukraine. And the company is registered in Estonia.
The average age of a modern gamer is 34 years old. This figure is often told to investors, as many of them consider gaming to be fun for teenagers. This is surprising for us, but it is so.
We actively started working on Proclass in April 2020. Now we are developing the project with our own money and time, everyone is working full-time. We are looking for the first angel investment of $150,000. We will use these funds to strengthen the team and launch the platform. We want to enter the market correctly because there will be no second chance to make a first impression.