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The Next Big Thing | The Boss who ‘Plays’ hard

26 May 2014

At the helm of Russia’s leading mobile and social game developer, Game Insight, is Alisa Chumachenko. You wouldn’t necessarily peg her as one of the top players — no pun intended in the gaming world just by looking at her, but as we all know, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Founded in 2010, Game Insight brings in millions of dollars of revenue every year from their roster of diverse mobile applications and online games. The company is only four years old but they have swiftly expounded their team of talents to 1000 people.

Alisa’s journey to becoming Founder and CEO of an extremely successful company is quite an interesting one. «For as long as I can remember, I was always playing games. I played 8-bit Nintendo games in my childhood,» she laughs, reminiscing. «Then after that, I became a hardcore online MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-PLaying Game) player and I played a lot/ I met my first bosses in the gaming industry in an online game and joined their small team at a startup that produced their own MMORPGs. This was back in 2004.«That startup was AstrumOnline Entertainment, a company where Alisa eventually became Vice President of Marketing and Advertising. A few years later, she left and started Game Insight. She adds, » It has always been my dream to work in this space, so I’m very happy that it happened.» If only we could land our dream job while playing games.

Although it started in Russia (headquarters located in Moscow), Game Insight was never meant to sally target the Russian market. G. I. has its office based in San Francisco which allows them to better serve North American customers in fact, the intention right from the get-go was to be an international company. As Alisa puts it, «Gaming language is an international language. Once you create a good game, people from all over the world can play it.» Not only are they based in Russia and North America, Game Insight has successfully ventured into Asian countries as well. «It seems like being in Russia, we are somewhere in between the West and Asia which has allowed us to create products that are suitable for both types of mentalities,» she adds.

It seems as if there is a continuing theme here: The gaming world is a place that welcomes pretty much everybody. But what about the business development side of things? The lack of women in technology is starting, but thankfully that has been changing in recent years. There are plenty of factors that could attribute to this; are women just not as interested in being technology entrepreneurs as men? Are men in the gaming space keeping the gender gap alive? It’s hard to come up with any definitive answer, it doesn’t seem like it’s much of a problem for Alisa.

«I think that in some ways it’s much easier to be a woman in a very-dominated industry,» she says. Although she didn’t elaborate on that point. Perhaps she was referring to standing out in a crowd of men. «And of course, in some cases, maybe when I speak to investors, [it might be a little hard for them to take me seriously]; but in every business, traction is what you need. It does not matter if you are a female or male or whatever.»

In any case, it doesn’t seem like being a woman in a testasteron-fueled arena has hindered her success in the least, as it should be. The future of Game Insight looks bright with Alisa taking the reigns as the company is continuing to do what it does best: develop and publish entertaining games. «The neat big thing for us is the new titles that we are focusing on,» she explains. «We started with casual games but this year is our big move into more mid core and hardcore titles. We are so focused right now on launching some big titles, so everything is going into these new games.»

It’s not always all business though, as one would expect; Alisa works hard and plays hard. «I love to play games all the time, especially during meetings because I am allowed to do that!» she says laughing.
— Jennifer Ngyen