Games on the VZ Networks are slowly growing and in the imprint of the new games we continue finding the usual suspects. An exception to this rule is Plazz Entertainment AG who launched their game “Atlantis” on the German social networks. We talked to Plazz CEO Jürgen Mayer about the motives to “go social”:
SocialGamesObserver: Plazz has quite a long history in gaming. When did you decide to bring a game on social networks and why did you choose Atlantis?
Jürgen Mayer: This move is the result of a consistent process to adapt our business to market needs. When we realized that casual games are becoming big business in social networks we decided to expand our games to social networks and Atlantis provided the perfect framework: the setting of a virtual world, social interactivity and casual gaming. That is what we claim to be social gaming in Atlantis.
SGO: Can you sketch the game concept of Atlantis in a few sentences?
Jürgen Mayer: Atlantis is a social hangout with a character based community and personalized avatars. The platform offers to a variety of casual games with collective goals which trigger community interaction. The game follows a free to play principle. Additionally we add community functions, events and narrative elements.
SGO: Who is Atlantis’ user base?
Jürgen Mayer: As we are available in all three networks of the VZ-Group we are addressing users from teens to students to nearly everyone who enjoys playing casual games and virtual hangouts. In SchülerVZ our main target group is about 12 to 16 years old.
SGO: In which form did Atlantis exist before and what has been adapted for the social network version?
Jürgen Mayer: We changed our game from a monthly subscription service towards a free to play game with the focus on item selling. The free game entry makes it possible to discover the unknown world before users have to invest something. It is free without restriction to play games, use the chat functions and interact with other players and the Atlantis team. For the launch on social networks we developed some new specials to entertain the new users like an award and level system. Users now have the option to earn soft currency or to buy hard currency. We also added booster items. In general we also really stressed safety for kids and teens and improved our service to permanent moderation of the free chats. The community function is crucial for us. Our editing team organizes events and quiz shows and encourages the user to interact with others.
SGO: As for the game mechanics, how can soft and hard currencies be acquired and what can they be used for?
Jürgen Mayer: Players receive soft cash for successfully finished games and for several other functions or items they have to buy hard cash. With both currencies the player can acquire personalization items like clothing, boosters, residence items and communication opportunities in the game chats (text colors or emoticons).
SGO: What sorts of payments do you for offer for the purchase of virtual goods and how did the specific target group influence the decision?
Jürgen Mayer: We have currently two options mobile payment via SMS and pay by call. Of course we are open for any other relevant option in the future. This is where we will have an eye on consistently to optimize our services.
SGO:Are there any differences between the Atlantis versions of the different VZ Networks?
Jürgen Mayer: SchülerVZ is the only network which is moderated because the target group consists of 12-16 year old users. The teens can talk and play in a separate chat room. Furthermore, users on SchülerVZ cannot spend more than 9.99€ per transaction.
SGO: Are you planning to roll out Atlantis on other social networks?
Jürgen Mayer:Our overall goal is definitely to enter other social networks. The decision for another network will be influenced by current social gaming trends. Currently, we are in the process to evaluate which social network might be the best to expand to next.