Launching in 2015 in Turkey, the team behind Voidu started with the idea that a smaller digital gaming platform working in a new market would be attractive to publishers and devs looking to get ahead in previously unexplored locations. They were correct: four years later, they’ve increased in size from two founders to 12 staff, and moved office from Istanbul to Amsterdam, where they work to distribute games across the UK, US and the rest of Europe.
It’s a success story that’s indicative of changing times in online purchasing. In today’s increasingly competitive distribution market, we’re seeing more and more alternatives to the once-ubiquitous distributors, smaller outlets catering to gamers looking for something a little more homegrown or developer-friendly than industry leading platforms. Voidu fits this niche, banking on their small size to provide a platform that changes with feedback from its users and publishers and provides a generous cut to developers.
The new, responsive breed of online store
Voidu came into existence when CEO Emrah Kara, who’d grown up on a diet of strategy experiences like Command & Conquer, Red Alert and Dune, rekindled his interest in the world of games after a lapse in his late twenties. “To be honest,” he says, “after my mid-twenties my gamer passion dissolved slightly, but it made a huge comeback around five to six years ago and so I couldn’t help but jump in as an entrepreneur this time: the creativity and the multidisciplinary nature of the industry was so tempting.”
At first, Emrah and his team focused on providing legitimate, cheap games to their user base, but it was never a long term strategy. Plenty of stores offer low prices and though it initially attracts users, Voidu needed to provide something different to keep customers coming and publishers publishing on the site. And that’s where platforms like this have an edge over larger corporate entities: able to respond faster and with more adaptability than larger competitors, Voidu carved out market space by sourcing extra features or benefits for its users and putting them in places like Turkey and Asia, where players usually had to take what they could get.
Going through changes
Of course, being cheap and interesting only gets you so far in a crowded space. Voidu works by partnering with official and authorised distributors who are connected with the publishers, connecting through an API to ensure they only pay for a product once a customer purchases from their site. It’s a drop-shipping technique that’s more common with e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay - to simplify, Voidu doesn’t have to spend much upfront to fill their inventory, so they’re able to offer deals and a developer share of around 20/80% or 30/70% thanks to this lean operation.
All very exciting and entrepreneurial, but the secret to their success likely lies with their willingness to take on feedback. Aside from a bunch of upcoming features like a community space, loyalty program and new layout, the guys behind the wheel won big credit when a multi-basket function was added to the site. People like to buy a lot of games at once: who would have thought? Publishers also get their say with an upcoming dashboard that will allow them to log in, manage their own keys and work to suit their own marketing plans.
But there’s still deals
Connecting directly with authorised distributors or publishers means Voidu can still offer competitive pricing (because that’s one thing the PC games market will never let go), so while they’re now focused on added benefits they’ll also save you cash over a direct purchase. And although they’ve historically been known for FPS first, new additions to their marketplace show more RPGs and RTS games in line with Emrah and his team’s personal preferences.
Deals start right from your first visit: the site incentivises you to create an account by giving you €1 worth of the platform’s own Voidu Cash to spend on your first purchase, which is a perfect sweetener if you’re not sure which title to spring for. The next big step is getting your friends to play too, with further deals for referring someone to use the platform.
2019 is continuing the trend: the team are working to expand into the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America and the whole of the Asia Pacific, bringing digital games for cheap to previously ignored places. Ambitious, but if they keep up with expectations, then the world might just be in Voidu’s grasp.