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Secrets of Quick Iteration in the Core Social Space
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Secrets of Quick Iteration in the Core Social Space

May 13, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

Since integrating the Emitter system into core gameplay, we've gone back and repeated this process for the clan functionality several times, each time tweaking usability or giving our players more control over their clan. The procedure we used for developing this feature is more or less the same way we do with everything -- listen, brainstorm, work until we think it's perfect, get told we're wrong, fix it until it's right, launch.

While there is nothing particularly unique about this production cycle within the industry, the pace at which we do it is dizzying. The non-linear communication somehow works, and you never end up getting the feeling that you're a cog on an assembly line.

An added advantage is that the speed at which we implement new features buys us a lot of extra time to experiment. If something doesn't work, that's okay -- we can just go back and take an old idea in a different direction. We also have the time to go back and tie the story around the feature or content more deeply, or improve some of the artwork, until we really pin down the result we want. The most rewarding part is that with social gaming you can see the audience response to all of this within minutes, and then can immediately go back and make adjustments. It's a bit like fine-tuning the engine on a jet fighter... while it's going at Mach 2 in a dogfight.

The Result

We encourage fellow developers to be unique. We didn't reach global success until we started to think outside the box. We were one of the first social network gaming companies to really start integrating sound production, 3D graphics and storyline with our games. By themselves, those elements are not anything revolutionary in gaming, but by spending the time to develop real characters, to tell real stories, and to invest in quality artwork, we are able to immerse people in a way they hadn't come to expect in this medium. With each of our new titles we're able to build on this experience and make it better.

We look forward to taking it further. The game play is at the core of any game, but it's those details that give a game its soul and brings the player into the experience… and social gaming could use a little more soul. 

We've also overcome some considerable challenges to reach the audiences we have. As we've offered our games to people of different languages, nationalities, and cultures, we've had to adapt our ways of thinking and reinvent ourselves to make that connection. In the process, we've learned how to help our users build an international community.

Here's a shot of the Imperial Map scale, showing clan territory and influence. Each icon indicates an emitter controlled by one clan.

To reach global success, we didn't have to have our studios located in major gaming regions around the world. Rather, our success was a result of the fact that we ventured away from the norms of casual gaming into something we felt was more inspiring. Furthermore, the direct feedback we have from our players guides us to continuously enhance and update our games.

As a result we grew over 500 percent since the beginning of last year, just on Facebook's platform, and our goal is to release at least five more Plarium games in 2013. Games with invested players lead to monetary investments that allow developers to expand both regionally and across multiple platforms.

Plarium is now the number two hardcore game developer on Facebook and we're constantly growing. The latest project we've been working on is the expansion of our social games to mobile. Players can anticipate that to come in the forthcoming weeks, and we look forward to seeing what everyone thinks of the Plarium gaming experience on new platforms. We truly believe that passionate game developers, make for passionate games and our ultimate goal is to position Plarium as a benchmark for hardcore game developers to come.

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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