Editor’s note: During the upcoming Inside Social Games Conference on June 6-7, Bret Terrill, the Founder of 12gigs.com, will be moderating two panels on the future of social apps, “Gambling Games: The Promise of Real Money,” and “Platform Opportunities for Social Apps.” InsideSocialGames.com had the opportunity to ask Bret two important questions on the future of social and mobile games.
Bret Terrill: A cross-platform gaming network is something that a lot of people were chasing last year as the next big thing. The idea was: Similar to Facebook owning the social graph, a company could own the “gamer graph”, connecting people who liked certain genres across platforms and games. As it stands today, Facebook is really the only company that has been successful in creating a cross-platform (PC and multiple mobile environments) gaming network , one that has largely fed off their immense social network.
Other large games companies, such as DeNA and Gree, have had success in the Japanese market, but they have moved toward a publisher model in the last year. It is an open question on whether Clash of Clans players care about what other games the people they “friend” within the game are playing. I suspect the gameing industry itself cares much more than the players, who are more interested to see what is in the top charts of their phone’s App Store.
Mars Frontier is a Facebook game from SpinPunch, Inc. The game has been showing activity since May of last year, but has recently been undergoing a hefty advertising push through regular appearances in the Facebook ad sidebar. The game makes use of the somewhat misleading “Must be 21+ to play!” ad format, implying the game has considerably more adult content than it actually does. It has also been designed as a showcase title for HTML5, working in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari without the need for plugins.
Mars Frontier is a “hardcore” strategy game that doesn’t deviate significantly from the format of other self-professed “hardcore” strategy games on Facebook. It was originally funded via Kickstarter last April, with the project page noting Mars Frontier was inspired by Kixeye’s work in the strategy genre. Revisiting Mars Frontier’s Kickstarter campaign, however, shows there’s no longer any mention of Kixeye on the page.
Players will split their time between building up a base to harvest resources, conduct research and construct units, and sending their forces out into the massively-multiplayer persistent world to attack other players and computer-controlled installations in asynchronous combat. The game begins with a brief piece of story text giving some context, but is otherwise a largely narrative-free experience, making the reasons and motivation for conflict not altogether clear.
The base-building component of the game provides players with an initial tutorial to introduce them to the basic concepts, and then a lengthy, seemingly-endless string of quests encouraging them to build various structures, upgrade their existing ones and construct new military units. Building requires various resources, including power from power plants, iron from iron harvesters and water from water harvesters. These can either be collected over time by the respective structures or simply purchased from the in-game store using the game’s hard currency Alloy. (more…)
Social game developer Goko has taken its board game focused HTML5 platform back into beta only four days after launch, explaining that it wasn’t able to scale fast enough to support the load.
The official message that can be found on Goko’s website recognizes that the platform’s first 48 hours “didn’t go well,” and apologizes to fans as well as the greater HTML5 community that supported Goko’s ambitions.
We reached out to Goko for more details but they told us they don’t have specific numbers to share at this time. “The team is working hard to correct the issues,” a representative said, “and once that’s done, we may have more details to share.”
On the one hand, Goko couldn’t be happy about a launch so fraught with technical difficulties they had to pull their product of the market. On the other hand, that the technical difficulties stem from not being able to handle the amount of traffic at the least proves that there’s interest in Goko’s product.
For now, the game is back in its limited access beta state, but players are invited to email Goko and participate. At this time there is no word on when Goko will relaunch.
Goko is focused on bringing card, strategy and board games across mobile and web platforms. Their games are coming to iOS, Android, Google+, Facebook and the open web. According to CEO Ted Griggs, Goko is focused on board games, believing they are at the core of the social experience. You can read our full interview with Griggs here.
Electronic Arts proved that HTML5 can deliver a quality fast-paced title at Google’s I/O conference last week with Strike Fortress, a game that provides a social action experience between Android and PC users.
There were two ways to play the game at Google I/O. Players on PC could use console controllers to directly control the battle mechs roaming around the map. Meanwhile, users with Android devices were able to scan a QR code that would bring them directly to the game in their browsers. When using a mobile device, players were presented with a top-down map of the arena they could drop support crates, mines and missiles around. Mobile players acted as free agents and could help or hinder whoever they wanted, with the results of their actions being played on a wall-mounted television. We only saw two mobile users playing in a game, but Driscoll tells us there were as many as ten Android users playing at a time.
EA doesn’t have any plans to release Strike Fortress, instead, the game was created as a project for the company’s Chief Creative Office to prove that a game like this could be done. Driscoll doesn’t rule out the possibility of the game getting a wider release in the future, but for now it’s serving as an example of how far game developers can go with Java WebGL.
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