Interviews

First wave: Israeli core strategy gaming outfit Plarium launches iOS debut

Total Domination is Reborn

First wave: Israeli core strategy gaming outfit Plarium launches iOS debut
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You might imagine the rush from social networks to mobile gaming is now over.

Not so.

While the likes of Zynga, King, Kabam and Wooga are well underway in their mobile adventure, and KIXEYE is inbound, there are still some large publishers preparing to make the leap.

One such as Israeli-headquartered Plarium.

It's an interesting outfit, it's focused on hardcore real-time strategy games, but to-date its audience of 84 million registered, 12 million monthly, and 3 million daily active players are mainly situated in Russia and the CIS regions.

Equally, the majority of Plarium's 300 staff are based in Ukraine.

As well as Facebook, its games, such as Stormfall: Age of War, Total Domination and Pirates: Tides of Fortune, have been available on local platforms like Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki and Mail.ru.

But now, as the company looks towards the US and western European markets, its debut mobile game, Total Domination: Reborn has been released globally on iOS.

Wider horizons

As with many of such titles (see Kabam's Kingdoms of Camelot), this is a standalone mobile version of the core strategy game.

The reasons are obvious. Combining a newbie mobile audience with an elite web player base doesn't create a good experience for either, let alone worrying about the technical issues of taking live games cross-platform.

"Mobile gamers play in a different way," points out Plarium CMO Gabi Shalel. After all, Reborn has been live in the Russian App Store since October 2012.

"We're seeing 8 to 10 sessions daily from our mobile players, compared to 2 or 3 on Facebook," he adds.

Of course, mobile sessions are shorter; something that's been facilitated by gameplay changes.

"We've made sure the experience is great for mobile," Shalel says.

"The core elements remain the same, but we're encouraging faster, more frequent play in terms of the resource collection and attack cycles."

One to rule

With its first mobile title out the door, Plarium's attention is turning to its other existing games.

"That's in the short term," Shalel confirms.

"Mid-term, we're looking at new games for social and mobile. This is about balancing business and technical aspects. It's not difficult, but we have to think careful about how we are creating value."

In the longterm, however, his vision is clear.

"We aspire to make games for mobile, social, smart TV, whatever..." he says. "It will be about one account, one experience."

Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.