You probably haven’t given much thought to the websites where you buy your PC games. You find a game, pay the money, and activate it on Steam. For all intents and purposes, they’re bundles of code sitting on vast repositories of lovely video-game keys, unlocked by a passcode that just happens to be your card number.
But say we forced you to think about the websites that sell you these games, and the people who run them, what do you envision? Savvy companies who see video-games as yet-another means of filling up their vaults? Men in suits looking intently at the peaks and troughs of a chart on a whiteboard?
Or how about a guy who spent his teenage years building empires and bombing bases in classic strategy games like Red Alert, Dune and Civilization?
That’s the origin story of Emrah Kara, a Turkish gamer-turned-entrepreneur who, alongside his friend Fatih Yalcinkaya founded the digital games retailer Voidu in 2015. By 2017, the site had reached its goal of providing a legitimate digital games store for Turkey, leading to its acquisition by mega-media company Azerion/OrangeGames. That same year, the five-man Voidu team moved to Azerion’s HQ in Amsterdam to continue expanding with the help of Azerion’s expertise and resources.
This would often be the point at which a company abandons its principles and gets blended into some kind of corporate monster, but Azerion and Voidu don’t work like that. They know that the site needs to work for gamers and developers in order to work for the company.
That’s why Voidu is constantly coming up with new ways to get games onto more peoples’ PCs. The team is now 12 strong, and its expertise in e-commerce and gaming has helped the site expand all over the world; in September 2017 it began selling games to the UK, EU and US markets, and it’s currently planning to move into underserved markets like Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa. The site works directly with publishers or authorised distributors, ensuring that the developer gets as much as 80% share of the revenue for each sale.
Voidu’s business model is focused on the long-term. It’s happy to cut its own profit margins and sell games for cheaper as it looks for customers to see it as the go-to place for PC games (so that’s how we managed to pick up Two-Point Hospital for under £20!).
In 2018, the site began to look at ways of rewarding its loyal customers. Not just abstract XP that culminates in unlocking digital badges or stickers, but actual tangible rewards that can help gamers get the games they want. University students get 30% discounts, for example, and there’s a new scheme where you get €1 credit for something as simple as registering for Voidu.
This is a gaming store with its ear to the hallowed ground of PC gaming, which shouldn’t come as a surprise from a CEO who owns collectors’ editions of every possible entry in the Metal Gear Solid, Assassin’s Creed and Resident Evil series. So it’s fitting that Voidu is a bit like a humble scientist exposed to the G-Virus: constantly mutating, and expanding into something stronger and better equipped for survival in the PC gaming market (except instead of vicious claws and giant eyes in wrong places, it just has a great library of games).