When it comes to social gaming applications, innovation is usually lacking. The games are designed to be as addictive as possible, but not necessarily to be the best games in terms of creativity, focus, or graphics.
FarmVille was not new, if you catch what I mean. Gaming shop PerBlue is working to reinvent the idea that social and mobile gaming has to be reruns from full-power titles. The company got its start (and most of its continuing success) from the first application they wrote called Parallel Kingdom (PK).
PK as a game combines the real world with a digital landscape that sits on top of your town. As you play the game, you and your GPS enabled phone slowly take over your real neighborhood inside the game, making sure that if your friends are playing, you will compete against them.
The company has taken that innovative application (a mixture of real-time, massive, GPS enabled Risk it would seem) and is monetizing it in the traditional online method: powerups. Users who want to get ahead now can buy in-game ‘food,’ the app’s currency, and shoot past everyone near them.
When we talked to the company they were very enthusiastic about their revenue situation. PerBlue is developing other titles with the experience and cash flow that PK has brought to the team. Around the world, more than 100,000 people play Parallel Kingdoms.
PerBlue wants to write games that have staying power, games that are not your run of the mill rehash of old concepts. By combining the real with the digital, and by smartly weaving game mechanics into the structure of their applications, we feel that PerBlue has a bright future indeed.
PerBlue was a finalist at the midVenturesLAUNCH conference, where we had the pleasure of talking to them about their progress.