Interview by Zoe Telegraphou
Photo Credits Yvonne Zachariou
Nexters recently presented their first Sustainability Report, talking about gaming’s positive impact on the world. What is this positive impact, both on individuals and on a community level?
We identify 4 areas of Nexters interaction with the world that we are focusing on and trying to improve and develop: our team, our communities, the environment and our players. In every area we have achieved some significant success: we have built a friendly atmosphere in which every employee feels valued, supported numerous events in Limassol and other cities of Cyprus, introduced the best environmental practices in offices and promoted eternal values through our games. All these efforts allow the gaming industry to contribute positively to the world, making it better for future generations.
What is the strategy Nexters follows in order to achieve this positive impact?
We have an adopted strategy for sustainable development, which addresses the focus areas in 3 layers of our interaction: core, local, and global. At the core level, we must meet the basic ESG standards and requirements in the IT industry, which are defined by a Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). At the local level, we try to be responsible and give back to the people and communities around us. And as a Company, which games are played by millions of people all around the world, at the global level our goal is to contribute to gaming’s positive impact on the world.
In what ways does a gaming company perceive sustainability?
Games have a broad social function to unite people with guilds, clans and constant communication between players and that’s why I believe gaming companies can leverage wide opportunities in promoting sustainability values. According to the latest estimates, almost 40% of the population is playing games, and this number is growing from year to year. Game development companies can effectively promote the sustainability agenda through games, telling about the importance of ecology, diversity and respect for all people. All this makes games one of the most massive conductors of eternal values to people, helping to build a sustainable society that is friendly to all its participants.
Other than that, we as a company understand how crucial it is to value your employees, endeavor to develop their professional skills while avoiding mental burnout and excessive work hours, be involved in various environmental, social, sports, and educational projects, support various charity projects and participate in IT & gamedev forums and initiatives, as well as to work to reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint of the company.
That’s how Nexters perceive sustainability. I believe the best strategy to contribute to gaming’s positive impact on the world is to work on combining all these activities, although that’s rather challenging.
What is the strategy you follow to achieve it?
To benefit our stakeholders, the environment, and society, we’ve identified the most important aspects of daily activities and impact we want to achieve and then worked on them step by step.
With the team, we follow equality, dignity and equity principles to fight discrimination and misconduct and the same time pay special attention to talent development. The average salary of Nexters employees is significantly higher than the average in the locations where we operate, and we even have a special corporate culture group, which is responsible for employees’ support and well-being.
We also strive for in-game diversity: in all our projects, gender, national and cultural diversity is widely represented, while we carefully verify the content to avoid involuntary discrimination or cultural аppropriation. As an example, in one of our new games Island Questaway the themes of humanism, equal opportunities, and respect for different cultures are largely expressed through the character and image of the protagonist. A young female aristocrat in the early 20th century abandons her traditional social role to fulfill her dreams. Much of the plot is built around her path to self-realization. Secondary characters of different nationalities, cultures, and social groups become friends or enemies of the protagonist depending on their actions.
Moreover, we’re actively involved in various educational, environmental and charity projects such as One Special Day, the Radisson Blu Larnaka International Marathon, and more. We support the international EdTech platform KidIT which provides offline programming and robotics courses focusing on creativity development through technology for Cypriot children, and participate in gamedev forums and initiatives such as Linq.
Besides that, I’d like to emphasize Nexters strives to reduce its environmental impact and carbon footprint, planning to reach the net-zero emission target by 2040. We optimize our mobile games in order to reduce power consumption and carbon footprint, promote environmental agenda in our plots, and use the latest technologies that allow our company to meet high energy efficiency standards and ensure low electricity consumption. For many years Nexters has been introducing a continuous series of measures to improve its waste management, including separate waste collection in all offices, containers for collecting used batteries, clothing exchange events in its offices to promote conscious consumption, and more.
In 2017 you moved your headquarters to Cyprus. I will not ask you why Cyprus, but I will ask you why Limassol?
We pay a lot of attention to the employees’ well-being. Limassol is a vibrant city with a very developed infrastructure and established IT community. Many of our employees have families with children, so it was also important for us to have various recreational, sports, educational and other opportunities, which can also be found in Limassol.
We’ve read that you are expanding your local-level activities in Limassol. Why is this important for an international operations’ company?
It is beneficial for everyone, when companies share their success with local communities, sponsoring and participating in various events and activities. This significantly contributes to the Company’s positive image with all types of counterparts – employees, government bodies, local and global partners, investors and many others.
Are there any plans regarding the company’s presence in Cyprus you’d like to share with us?
In the last 12 months, we have almost doubled the number of employees we have here in Cyprus. Mostly these are people relocated here from other countries, but we also increase the number of local employees. In the near future, we also plan to strengthen our active cooperation with the Cypriot environmental organization City Friends Club. For example, we will sponsor meetups that this organization will hold in the near future, and we will also have several joint events, including cleaning the beaches of Limassol.
Why should someone invest in Nexters, apart from the fact of course that you are one of the top 3 independent mobile game developers in Europe, and that last year you went public on Nasdaq?
Gaming is now the largest sector in the entertainment business, with a worth of $176bn in 2021 – that’s bigger than Hollywood. It is a truly global and competitive market, where only the strongest companies can get scale. We have a wide pipeline of mobile games, many of which have been popular for 5+ years among millions of players. We never stop innovating and are constantly looking for new ideas, launching new projects. Nexters has an amazing team of over 700 experienced and dedicated professionals who live by the creativity and drive to make games.
How high your ambitions are? What comes next for Nexters?
We want to be among leaders and trendsetters in the global entertainment industry, and we have everything in our hands to achieve that.