Wooga entering mid-core market, aims to change storytelling with newest social games
Social mobile developer Wooga is continuing to expand its development efforts, today announcing its next four titles that include a mid-core strategy game. At a media event, Wooga Founder and CEO Jens Begemann revealed that his company was profitable for the year of 2012 (but declined to go into specifics) and also laid out what the first half of 2013 is going to look like for the game developer.
For the first part of 2013 Wooga is launching four games, two on mobile and two more across social and mobile platforms. The first mobile game will be the long-anticipated iOS version of Wooga’s long-lasting farm sim, Monster World; this will launch for iPhone and iPad on March 21. Wooga is also gearing up to launch a new IP built around snackable game experience, Pocket Village, exclusively for iOS on April 11. You can read more about these titles and Wooga’s mobile focus on our sister site, Inside Mobile Apps.
The biggest game announcement of the day, however, was that Wooga is entering the mid-core market with its new game, Kingsbridge. This isn’t entirely surprising, as core gamers are known for monetizing at rates well above the social/mobile industry averages. Begemann says the game will stand out from other titles in the genre because it will be “Wooga’s take on mid-core.”
Begemann explains that mid-core games currently popular on Facebook are successful with a niche group of players, but often feel unaccessible to a larger portion of users because prior familiarity with the genre is necessary to understand mechanics. As a result, these games “appeal mostly to people who consider themselves gamers, but we make games for people who play games regularly and don’t consider themselves gamers.”
The brief demo we got to see showed a game that would look instantly familiar for anyone who’s played a castle or citybuilder title, but also showed how players could invade the villages of other players (who don’t necessarily have to be friends with them on Facebook). During the sample siege, we saw a user drag and drop different soldier types into a village, allowing specialized troops to attack areas where they would be most effective. Kingsbridge will launch on Facebook this April.
Additionally, Wooga is getting ready to launch a cross-platform synchronous hidden object game, Pearl’s Peril, written by author Steve Elliot Altman. Like other hidden object games, Pearl’s Peril will revolve around titular heroine Pearl Wallace investigating the mystery of her father’s death on their family-owned Polynesian island and feature the usual staples like hi-resolution artwork and an estate to build up and manage.
What’s interesting about Pearl’s Peril, though, is that Wooga is making the game’s storyline episodic. Begemann says this stems from a problem he sees with most hidden object titles, namely that they often feature strong plotlines that eventually end after players have invested a great deal of time and emotion in. As a result, he says, “we tried to take a lesson from TV, where episodes continued every week and the story continues.”
This works in a similar fashion to the radio plays of decades past. If a user finishes all of the content currently in the game, they’re treated to a cliffhanger ending and a “to be continued” message with a countdown timer showing when the next episode will launch. Begemann says the game will launch with five episodes and the dev team has 25 episodes prepared. Pearl’s Peril is set to launch for Facebook on March 5, with iOS versions coming in Q2 2013.
For Begemann, these new titles are another step in what he calls “Wooga’s 2020 plan.” He explains that when he first started the company, he spent a day wandering the streets of Berlin asking people if they played games every day. Unsurprisingly, most people said they didn’t play games nearly as much as they listened to music or watched television. Begemann says that in the future he’s planning to go out again and ask the same questions, but he’s hoping to hear his company’s titles help get nearly everyone say they play games on a daily basis.