Nordcurrent CEO Talks Gaming and Digital Fashion

Virtual shopping experience

MP recently spoke with Victoria Trofimova, co-founder and CEO at Nordcurrent. For 20 years, she has led Nordcurrent from 3 people making games at home to over 250 employees across four studios. As a result, Nordcurrent has made many over the years. Its mobile games have been downloaded over 500,000,000 times across the world.

Nordcurrent

What is Nordcurrent, and how is it unique?

Nordcurrent is a game development and publishing company established in Lithuania with additional studios in Ukraine and Poland. The company has always developed a variety of different games and never specialized in any one genre. Our very popular time-management games: Cooking Fever, Happy Clinic, and Airplane chefs. We also have the hidden-object game Murder in the Alps and the fashion game Pocket Styler. But we also offer mid-core games such as Sniper Arena. Our players are females and males from 20 to 65.

How has Nordcurrent distanced itself from other game studios?

We do not try to distance ourselves from other game studios. We operate in a growing global market with unlimited possibilities for new games, themes, styles, features, and channels. The market is also very transparent. There is not much to hide after a game is published. Therefore, the gaming industry is more an economy of sharing and collaborating than competing.

Where did the name Nordcurrent come from, and why was it chosen?

The story of the name is quite simple. In 2011, we decided to grow as an international game publisher. We needed a well-sounding name to introduce to partners and attract talent. Nordcurrent came out as the best-sounding option on our brainstormed list. I think it is a meaningful choice. Combined with our logo (palm tree), it associates with a journey to the unknown. I think this is what gaming and making games are about.

How do you plan for Nordcurrent’s future?

We have released three global games in the last 16 months. This allows doubling our business in terms of revenue. It also means more pressure from our players to deliver more content and new features. Since the game is a living world, there is no end to investments in it. Therefore, our focus in the mid-term will be on expanding our existing games and strengthening the development and design teams. However, we have new projects in the backlog, and at least one new game will be released this year. Long-term, we look into many exciting opportunities to make games that people will love. We have the experience of a 20-year journey and we’re heading into the unknown for many more.

Victoria Trofimova of Nordcurrent
Nordcurrent Co-Founder and CEO Victoria Trofimova / Photo courtesy of Nordcurrent

Virtual Clothing

What trends can you share about how digital wardrobes are replacing traditional shopping?

Digital wardrobes give consumers more freedom to experiment with their identity and styles at a fraction of the cost of what traditional shopping allows us to do. Or free, for that matter. Also, from the comfort of your home or during your daily commute. You can freely express yourself with a digital wardrobe and be appreciated for your efforts by a community of like-minded individuals. And that community is growing fast. Our styling game has over a million monthly users who are actively experimenting with various looks and styles. They enjoy the creative, fashionable freedom a digital wardrobe can provide within a gamified virtual environment. And we are far from the only game in the styling and fashion genre. These digital wardrobes are fulfilling a present need that traditional shopping cannot provide.

How has digital fashion transformed the fashion industry, and why?

As digital fashion permeates our everyday lives, I believe there will be a rise in a strong personal style. Trends will have to adapt and transform from the current loop that has become a fashion meme. Everything comes around. Have you noticed all the tie-dye shirts in stores lately? Physical items have a limitation of space and durability. They must fade for new (old) trends to take their place. Fashion brands have time to prepare for the next trend. With digital items, it will not be so straightforward. The space is endless. My whole virtual wardrobe will be a click, tap, wave, voice command away. I can mix and match items from various styles, decades, inspirations, or even works of fiction, which will become the foundation of a strong personal identity. We need to offer our content and variety, and the consumer will do the rest. Consumers will dictate what is trendy. We just need to give them the tools.

What do big-name designers like Louis Vuitton or Moschino experimenting with digital collections mean for game developers?

It is amazing to see fashion industry leaders taking on seemingly experimental projects of brand integration into the digital space. We see increased interest from various brands in trying out what these types of integrations can offer. It makes sense. As people, we highlight who we are with what we wear. As players, we do the same with our avatars. For the longest time in game development, the clothes of our avatars were designed by artists, which is not a bad thing and leads to various beautiful apparel choices. But imagine if stylists started creating these looks for our avatars. How would the gaming world look then? Clothes tell an important story of any fictional and digital world. Clothes tell a story of our identity. Professional fashion brands have been in this storytelling business for a long time. I can see only positive results from any collaboration between the fashion and game development industries.

Are game developers focused on replicating real-life purchases virtually?

In a sense – yes. We cannot move too far away from what is common and understandable to the audience. Players earn currency. They spend their earned currency on digital items. If we take Pocket Styler as an example, we tried replicating the categories of clothing and filtering system to match what you would see on a clothing e-shop. This way, our players are already familiar with the purchasing process and can spend more time on gameplay. Creating an unfamiliar system would not only hinder the game design but would also force players to unnecessarily relearn something.

What do you think the future of digital fashion will be, and why?

In the future, we might need to rethink digital fashion. Digital fashion will become the ultimate expression of one’s identity once we move away from the creative limitations we bring from the physical world. Then things will become interesting, and I cannot wait.