Kinguin’s journey to an advanced tech company

Kinguin’s journey to an advanced tech company

 

It was only at the beginning of this year that Marek Fila was announced as Kinguin’s new CTO. He brings a wealth of tech knowledge to the role following 26 years at companies such as RBS, Samsung, the US Lionbridge and Cisco. Taking this position gives Marek the opportunity to put his existing tech prowess to work to help Kinguin reach their aspirations of an advanced tech company. 

Marek is looking forward to the challenge – he feels he can bridge the gap between tech and business and he’s looking forward to being a more open and transparent leader at Kinguin. We found time to chat with Marek where he told us about Kinguin’s tech potential as well as his top priorities coming into the role. 

As soon as I was approached I knew the role of Kinguin’s CTO was perfect for me. For my next move I wanted to work for a cloud based modern tech company and Kinguin stood out from the crowd. Already making technological advancements by implementing NFTs and Google Recommendations AI to their market leading website, it was their bold decision to transition from Magento, an open-source ecommerce platform, to their own marketplace engine which drew me in. It highlighted their true potential.

By using their own marketplace engine, Kinguin can meet additional business requirements, deploy digital products much quicker and provide implementations in single actions. As a result, its platform is more agile, flexible and efficient. And in a competitive market it’s all about being first – ultimately, if you’re first to market then you’re perceived a winner and Kinguin has become a standout leader. 

But what really differentiates us from our competitors is that Kinguin is dedicated to creating customised solutions and facilitating end to end services to all forms of businesses. We recognise every business is important, regardless of size – after all, big business has to start somewhere. Our tech helps these small businesses thrive by providing them with the engine and services to do so. As a global digital ecommerce platform, our customers are all over the world, but what our tech offers merchants is the agility and ability to connect their products with anybody, anywhere, in the knowledge that their transactions are in safe hands.

Heading into this role it’s all been about where I can add the most value. From my perspective, it’s important for us to connect with more merchants, to create new diverse offerings and improve our customer’s purchasing experience, such as linking recommendations to customers, based on their interests and history of purchases. I am also keen to explore customisation for specific countries. This means we need to build an IT architecture that can compete and adapt to a rapidly moving environment.  

Speaking of the environment, a long term proposition for Kinguin’s tech is to go green. By presiding in the clouds, we can alleviate processing delays and easily scale up or scale down to meet demand – this makes us cost effective as well as environmentally friendly! We can become pioneers in the market by using the newest, most efficient technology including the latest AI tech and Google tools to reduce our footprint. This is why one of the first decisions I’ve made is to completely shut down Magento by the middle of the year. Watch this green space!

While it’s essential to make these changes for our partners and our customers, it’s equally important to bring our people on the journey with us – they need to be fully engaged with our vision. With this in mind, we’re educating our employees on our tech capabilities. But to achieve our goals we also need to recruit talent – people who can support our ambitions to scale up. This means we also have to consider how we tell our story to the wider world – and that’s something we’re working on and why I feel passionate about being the bridge between the business and the tech.

While I’m only a month into the role, things are moving quickly. I genuinely believe we’re on the right track to becoming an advanced tech company of the future!

A look back at the past year shaped up for Kinguin

A look back at the past year shaped up for Kinguin

 

With 2021 about to draw to a close, we caught up with Brandon Doerfler, Kinguin’s first acting CEO, to get his thoughts on Kinguin’s achievements this year. He talked us through a few of his personal highlights. 

When I look back on the last year, I’ll remember it as a year that threw up many challenges but one where, despite these, the team at Kinguin were able to come together to overcome them and drive us to success.  I’ve previously spoken at length about a people first culture and how important it is to me, and to us as a company, and this proves it. It also shows what incredible people work at Kinguin.  

There have been a multitude of projects we’ve activated that have made me proud – from charity projects, including Kinguin Cares, to partnerships with Prime Time Wrestling, Anonymo Esports, NeoSurf and Immutable X – we’ve achieved so much.

 

 

Here are a few of my favourites.

For all the great women out there – Kinguin’s Female Gamers Report 

We now have 1.1 million active female customers at Kinguin – a 56% increase YOY – which is no mean feat. So, back in March we decided to take a step back and celebrate them. Timed to International Women’s Day, we issued a report on the female gaming community – outlining some of their favourite titles – with Sims 4, Minecraft and Rust at the top of the list. In doing this we also found out that Germany is the female capital of Europe – though there are an increasing number of women playing games across the world! I’m looking forward to us exploring ways to carry this forward into next year.

The rotating CEO model 

In August, after eight remarkable years Viktor Romaniuk Wanli, acting CEO and Kinguin founder, announced a new chapter for the company. His plan was to adopt a fresh perspective with a rotating CEO model, which included me, Robert Kalbarczyk and Adam Gruda.

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I first took over the role – only that I had big ambitions. I knew my starting point in this journey was people because they are our greatest assets and advocates, but it was also about learning to steer our team with a new view of optimism, and showing the changes we’re implementing are positive.

I’ve still got a couple of months to go before I hand the baton over to Robert and, while I’ve achieved so much already, there is lots I still want to do. I can’t thank Viktor enough for the opportunity – this is a clear winner when it comes to highlights, for me.

Kinguin slid into the world of NFTs

NFT is the buzzword for 2021, and they aren’t going away any time soon – if you haven’t yet heard this term you must have been sleeping under a rock! This is such an exciting space and one that will continue into 2022 – the technology behind NFTs has the potential to completely revolutionise how we approach digital ownership and the types of products that will be available to us. 

Back in September, we announced a partnership with Bitcoin Vault to produce a set of three exclusive SkillzVault competition cards. This was the first time we introduced NFTs to the marketplace and, while we plan to delve deeper into this next year, this was a momentous occasion for us. We’ve also progressively been introducing more cryptocurrency payment solutions to our platform, taking our well known safe payment solutions and check processes to the next level.

Crunch time – Kinguin’s year in numbers

The numbers are integral to every business – you can’t argue with numbers – and this year we’ve been record setting.

In March we reached 10 million registered customers, in May we hit a new monthly transaction record of over 680.000, while in November we reached $15.7 million in gross merchandise volume – we also hit our highest ever Trust Score of 4.2 at Trustpilot.

It feels good to be surpassing expectations, particularly during such challenging times. I can’t wait to see what records we can break next year!

I feel lucky to be at the forefront of such an exciting, visionary company and industry – we’re always looking for new ways to reach and break through the limits. And as we leave this year behind, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us – our partners, our customers, our merchants. These milestones wouldn’t be possible without you. 

My final thanks is for the incredible team we have at Kinguin – it’s been a privilege to work alongside each and every one of you. 

I hope you and your families had a lovely Christmas and are refreshed ready for 2022!

Best wishes,

Brandon Doerfler

Kinguin begins cooperation with The Chamber of Digital Economy

Kinguin begins cooperation with The Chamber of Digital Economy

 

The Chamber of Digital Economy (e-Chamber) is entering the world of video games and e-sport by establishing cooperation with Kinguin, the first global marketplace for players. The cooperation will be initiated by an expert meeting for e-commerce companies on gaming and NFT.

The Chamber of Digital Economy represents and supports the interests of companies related to the digital economy market in Poland, with particular emphasis on companies associated in the e-Chamber. The mission of the e-Chamber is the development of the Polish digital economy industry through cooperation, exchange of know-how, legislative activities as well as strong and effective representation of common interests in dialogue with institutions of Polish government administration, the European Union and non-governmental organizations in the country and in the world.

The main goals of the Chamber of Digital Economy are:

  • representing and supporting the economic interests of companies related to the digital economy market in Poland, with particular emphasis on companies associated in the Chamber,
  • development of the economy in its various industries in Poland and Europe thanks to the use of technological, information and communication (ICT) innovations, including the Internet, hardware and software, and their practical applications in running a business,
  • supporting entrepreneurs by providing knowledge (know-how) and technological solutions,
  • supporting the society in using digital solutions.

We are very pleased that we can join the Chamber of Digital Economy. Kinguin is one of the global gaming leaders in the area of e-commerce. Our business model is based on the same principles as Amazon, Ebay or Polish Allegro. We are also a digital platform connecting sellers and buyers all over the world, with the difference that our products are purely digital. As Kinguin, we would like to bring to the e-Chamber know-how in the area of gaming and new technologies, including NFT, which we have been actively developing since May this year – said Robert Kalbarczyk, Chief Operating Officer at Kinguin.

The gaming market is one of the fastest growing segments of the Polish entertainment industry. Kinguin joining the e-Chamber opens our organization to a new, dynamically developing area of digital economy. Soon we will publish action plans and proposals for the video game industry – summarized by Patrycja Sass-Staniszewska, President of the Chamber of Digital Economy.

In January 2022, an expert meeting for e-commerce companies on gaming and new technologies will be organized at the Kinguin Esports Performance Center in Warsaw. The main topic of the event will be the NFT (Non-Fungible Token) market, which has recently been gaining popularity incredibly quickly. This is just the beginning of the blockchain revolution, which in the first half of 2021 led to the sale of NFT tokens with a total value of more than $ 2.5 billion – according to Reuters. NFT is a non-exchangeable, technically unchanged, certificate that can take many forms, such as a photo, video or text file. NFT is a certificate confirming that a given file is an original existing in only one copy. According to a report presented by CNBC, the volume of NFT transactions increased to USD 10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021. This is a 704% increase compared to the previous quarter.

Topics: newsGamesNFTmarketing

The Evolution of Kinguin Esports Performance Center

The Evolution of Kinguin Esports Performance Center

 

Michał Gębski, Regional Country Manager at Kinguin, has a huge passion for video games, which all started when he received his first PC, the Atari XL, at eight years of age. Coupling this love of gaming with his ambitious nature, Michał became a competitive gamer, initially battling in Starcraft, before moving into Rainbow 6 and GS:GO. This experience means he understands the importance of needing a place to train before major tournaments and he’s used that experience to ensure that Kinguin Esports Performance Center (EPC) has become that perfect place for teams and players to hone their skills because of its holistic infrastructure and ability to put players’ needs front and center.

Michał has worked at Kinguin for six years now, playing a vital role in evolving the EPC into the world class facility it is today. We sat down with Michał to ask him about his rich history in the professional esports world and to find out more about Kinguin’s EPC, as well as his aspirations for its future.

Back in 2017 I joined Team Kinguin as a PR Manager, where I very quickly realised that the best thing about working here is that you have a lot of autonomy. This is where I saw my chance. There were so many new business opportunities for Kinguin to explore and tap into, and when I outlined these to my Senior Managers, they were not only excited, but also helped me adapt my role to make my visions for the company possible. What I didn’t know then was that this was only the beginning of my journey at Kinguin.

After this, my next challenge at Kinguin was to manage and grow the EPC itself. As a team, we built Kinguin’s EPC from scratch, making it one of the first professional facilities for esports teams and the industry in Europe – something I’m very proud of. My competitive gaming background made this a passionate venture for me. It allowed me to share insights and knowledge into what teams really need – an all encompassing esports training center.

And that’s what we accomplished! Our EPC, which is based in Warsaw, offers the best-in-class facilities and provides teams with unlimited access to training and analyst rooms, streaming opportunities, accommodation, massage room with professional physios, a gym, psychologists on hand and even professional chefs. This goes far beyond just a bootcamp; a professional sport – or esport – requires a professional lifestyle.

Brandon Doerfler, Kinguin’s first acting CEO, recently spoke about his people first philosophy which resonates so well with what we’re doing here at the EPC. People really are our greatest assets and without them, our EPC wouldn’t be the world class facility it is today. Our team truly does go the extra mile. Take for example our newest team member, the concierge, who watches all the games and if they see that you’re still conquering enemies then don’t worry, they’ll reschedule your dinner! It’s that kind of enthusiasm and passion that really helps Kinguin’s EPC stand above the rest. 

The first team to put our facilities to the test were the Australian Renegades who originally came for a whistlestop bootcamp. Nine months down the line and they were still here! This said it all, proving that these facilities were needed in the industry. From the beginning of last year, the EPC was visited by world-leading esports organisations such as OG, FaZe Clan, Team Vitality, MiBR, Evil Geniuses, 100 Thieves, Furia and many others.

In terms of future aspirations, we have many. The EPC has already established itself as a leading facility within the industry, but as the teams who come to train at our facilities will know, it’s all about how to stay on top. 

One of our ideas is to create our very own Mind Hub. Designed for professional and semi-professional players, it will be made up of three key pillars. These include: 

  • Performance – consisting of 23 clinical-grade cognitive tests prepared by professional scientists and created specifically for esports professionals. Each test will focus on fundamental cognitive skills, including short-term memory and spatial perception.
  • Psychology – a comprehensive psychological assessment based on 35 years of research in professional sport but modified for esports. The assessment will evaluate players’ psychological and social functioning and focuses on 12 intangible performance traits crucial for any esport athlete.
  • Medical – a list of biomedical tests designed by doctors for pro-gamers. This medical checkup will be focused on blood, kidney, liver, inflammatory and hormonal functioning and will enable us to detect whether players are suffering from any medical issues, such as dehydration, excessive stress, cardiovascular problems, liver problems and much more. 

Putting this analysis together will provide an all encompassing report which will let teams and players know their current performance status, as well as their true potential. If implemented properly by teams, it would be a huge step towards further professionalising esports.

I’m excited to continue leading and pushing boundaries with this exciting venture for Kinguin. We’ll continue to make our state of the art facilities even better – Kinguin Esports Performance Center is where future champions are born – watch this space!

Kinguin enters the world of NFT

Kinguin enters the world of NFT

 

NFT is the world’s new buzz word and, for Kinguin, an exciting new opportunity. When asked to describe them in one sentence, Mateusz Mach, Director of NFTs at Kinguin told us it was limiting because while the crude definition means non-fungible tokens, the reality is that these unique, irreplaceable assets are about to change the world of collectibles, and gaming, forever.


Mateusz, a highly regarded entrepreneur who founded the world’s first sign language messenger and venture house Nextrope, started with Kinguin in April. He was inspired to join the company having had conversations with founder Viktor Romaniuk Wanli about multiple topics covering digital trade and NFTs, and this, combined with his expertise and passion for tech, made it an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. We sat down with him to ask him about NFTs and to find out what this means for Kinguin. 

While many people are only now hearing about NFTs, the first one was created in 2014. This was when there was a desire to trade assets online. But, it was only in January this year that NFTs became popular and much of the hype that has been created is the result of the collectables culture in the US. Since then the growth has been exponential, hitting a high of 2.5 billion USD in Q2! But we’re still only at the beginning – there is much to improve and more industries will get involved.

For Kinguin, it is a new business area to explore. But I’m always looking for creative challenges and I knew that adding NFTs to the marketplace was a now or never opportunity. So far during my time at the company we’ve announced a partnership with Immutable X and more recently we became the exclusive NFT partner for the Kinguin Prime Time Wrestling event, where we minted exclusive wrestling NFTs and became the first marketplace globally to enter the NFT world. While NFTs provide a new revenue category for the company, our goal is more holistic. 

We understand that NFTs are new for many people and that while our customers are tech savvy, there is still an education process. Our plan is to invest in building the most convenient to use NFT marketplace within the gaming industry. What we want is for anyone visiting Kinguin.net to find and buy the NFT they want – and to do it with confidence!

One example of this is the payment solutions we offer. We’re well known for our wide variety of checkout processes – there are many marketplaces that do not know how to integrate the payment options we have. Our ambition is to make sure this is fully integrated when our customers are buying and trading NFTs as well – it’s important to give them choices.

As well as educating our customers on NFTs, we also want to make sure we offer products that appeal to their tastes. We plan to collaborate with partners who give them access to exclusive, gaming collectibles, ones we know they will want to get their hands on. But this will not be limited to gaming. NFTs have become a part of pop culture and because of this we are in advanced talks with artists, musicians, fashion designers, and celebrities to contribute our ideas and add their NFTs on our marketplace. 

From a personal perspective, my interest is in establishing a new category for Kinguin – one where there is much room to innovate and excite our customers. It will be an incredible experience to be a part of those technological changes. For Kinguin, it will be about being recognised as a market leader – we want to be synonymous with rare, gaming NFTs. This is definitely a long term proposition for the company. 

We have a ton of plans in the pipeline, many of which I can’t talk about just yet. Next year there will be lots more news I can share but for now it’s about defining our strategy and making sure that when we do reveal all. It will have been worth the wait!