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Oleg Grushevich: 'Cyprus is an exciting location for conducting business'

The CEO and Co-founder of Easybrain, Oleg Grushevich, recently explained why the company chose to do business in Cyprus and why measures positioning Cyprus as an IT professionals’ hub continued to be welcome.

Speaking to GOLD magazine as part of a cover story featuring 18 of the top gaming developers based in Cyprus, he also reveals more about Easybrain's most successful products and shares his view of the gaming scene.

How did the focus on mobile gaming, particularly in the puzzle and logic genre, come to define your game development strategy?

Our initial decision to specialise in mobile puzzle and logic games came from a strong commitment to keeping a clear focus. Instead of spreading ourselves thin across various gaming genres, we honed in on a specific niche in which we saw great potential. We understand that success in the gaming industry goes beyond just following trends – it’s about excelling in a specific domain. This strategy helps us navigate the fast-changing sector, allowing us to go the extra mile and achieve remarkable business results. This dedication to what we're good at sets us apart, positioning Easybrain as a leader in building the best-selling mobile logic puzzles on the market.

Walk us through your most successful titles. And what would you say makes a successful mobile game?

At Easybrain, we're proud of our ability to create evergreen products with long-lasting success. Sudoku.com, Jigsaw Puzzles, Blockudoku, Nonogram.com, Pixel Art – these titles top the charts, captivating millions of users every month. I also want to highlight our newer games that have quickly gained strong positions in recent years: Art Puzzle and Number Match. I believe the key to our games' success lies in our attention to detail for gameplay and design. While there may be plenty of analogs in the market, our players keep coming back to our products because they value the quality and clarity of the gaming experience we offer. Consequently, this results in impressive retention and engagement rates, distinguishing successful games from ordinary ones.

Over the past five years, the games market has witnessed substantial growth, reaching US$187.7 billion in 2023 and projected to hit US$212.4 billion by 2026, with mobile gaming taking the lion's share. What major factors have fuelled the industry's growth, particularly in mobile gaming?

The growth of mobile gaming is linked to the integral role that smartphones play in people's lives. The accessibility and convenience offered by mobile platforms have democratised gaming, breaking down barriers to reach a wider audience. The diversification of game genres and content has also been a factor in attracting a broad range of players. From casual puzzle games to immersive role-playing adventures, the mobile gaming ecosystem now caters to various tastes and preferences. In response to the growing market, we meet this demand by offering games with a unique blend of entertainment and mental engagement. This makes Easybrain games an ideal choice for users looking to unwind, de-stress, and pass the time, with both enjoyable and intellectually enriching titles.

How have data privacy rules, such as the EU's GDPR and Apple's Identifier for Advertisers, impacted your operations, and how have you adjusted to them?

The impact of GDPR, IDFA and other privacy regulations has been a significant part of our operations. These changes, though to a certain extent transformative for the industry, were met with proactive measures on our part to ensure a smooth transition. The reasoning behind these privacy changes is clear – to protect user privacy in an increasingly digital world. While it has posed challenges as regards advertising, we understand the need to stay adaptable and ready for further adjustments in the future. Equally important in these changes is the need to listen to diverse perspectives within the industry. Hearing voices from different sides, whether from regulators, consumers, or businesses, is crucial to avoid future turbulence that could affect not only numerous companies but entire markets.

In recent years, several mobile game companies have relocated to Cyprus. What factors have driven this migration?

Cyprus is an exciting location for conducting business. The country offers clear and straightforward taxation policies – a vital consideration for any company. The favourable climate is not just a perk; it also enhances the overall quality of life for our team, fostering a positive and productive work atmosphere. It's worth noting the emergence of new initiatives that contribute to an improved business environment on the island. Coupled with the presence of skilled talents, this synergy is encouraging the relocation of IT companies like ours.

What specific changes – in terms of policy, infrastructure development or any other area – do you believe are essential to bolster Cyprus' growth as a hub for the industry?

The recent legislative initiative in Cyprus focused on simplifying the process of obtaining Cypriot citizenship for highly skilled foreign workers marks a significant step toward fostering a more business-friendly environment. We definitely welcome such measures, recognising their importance in positioning the island as a hub and drawing more IT professionals through relocation. Beyond these efforts, it's essential to create conditions that support the sustained growth of the IT sector. This involves practical measures like building new schools, establishing cultural and social spaces, expanding real estate and public transportation capacity, and ensuring environmental cleanliness on the island. At Easybrain, we actively support initiatives aimed at improving infrastructure in Cyprus and we firmly believe in the mutual impact of the tech industry and local authorities, ensuring that Cyprus remains an attractive destination for IT companies and professionals.

(This interview first appeared in the January 2024 edition of GOLD magazine. Click here to view it.)

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