Today, Kabam announced that its previously announced social game based on the Godfather franchise will debut as a timed exclusive on Google+.
The Godfather: Five Families, which has players vying for control of New York as one of the five mafia families featured in the classic series, will be available only on Google's social network for 45 days, after which the game will launch on other platforms such as Facebook.
Kabam said that by launching the game first on Google+, Google will provide additional promotion for the title and give it increased visibility among other games on the platform.
"As Michael Corleone said, 'Itís not personal... Itís strictly business,'" Kabam VP of marketing Ted Simon told Gamasutra. "As we were evaluating our options, Google+ games came to us and put together the most compelling marketing and merchandising package to support the expansion of The Godfather: Five Families and help drive traffic to their platform."
"Our game traffic on Google+ games has been solid and holding up well," he continued. "Secondly, we feel the Google+ team has been very supportive of our efforts and has provided excellent service. Their platform stability has been a strong point as well. From everything we have experienced to date, the Google+ team values games and developers as an important part of their business and want to work in partnership with game developers. We find that very encouraging," Simon said.
Earlier this year, Kabam began running a closed beta for the game, and general manager Larry Koh says the team has learned some key lessons that have helped the team drive player engagement as the The Godfather: Five Families nears its launch.
For instance, Koh said that the game's faction-based system, which divides users among five mafia families, has helped ease communication between players -- a key element to the game's social framework. "This sub-grouping of players has allowed new players and elder players more to easily interact with each other. We've seen this increased interaction help the newer players stay engaged on the game at a higher rate than other strategy games," Koh explained.
Koh added that the beta's emphasis on factional competition has led to increased interaction between players, which Kabam hopes will be a key factor for the final game's sustainability.
"We've seen a higher degree of synchronous messaging between team members and rivals, as well as a higher interest in battle-oriented items that offer advantages for in-game combat," he said. "This high-level of competition is resulting in regular community generated mafia family wars events that we believe will keep players fully engaged in the game for a long period of time."
Kabam is developing The Godfather: Five Families with franchise holder Paramount Entertainment, and hopes to launch the game later this year. Other Kabam titles available on Google+ include Global Warfare, Dragons of Atlantis, and Edgeworld.