Subscribe To IGG Interview: MMOs Of 2010, Dreamland Reinvents Contra Updates
Anyone who pays attention to IGG news knows that there are tons of new games coming out this year, with a handful of new MMOs that the company is publishing right in the first-half of this year alone. IGG's product director, Annie Ding, answered a few questions regarding their upcoming titles, IGG's marketing versus that of Evony and how Dreamland recreates the Contra experience for MMOs.

Blend Games: There's a pretty big slate of new games on the way from IGG for the early half of 2010. Although, I noticed that Lords Online and Altis Gates seem to venture outside the typical MMORPG paradigm. Will the other games coming out in the first half of 2010 continue the trend delving into other MMO genres or will they be enhancements of current MMO standards?

Annie Ding: For the past three years, our attention has been focused almost exclusively on the MMORPG market. We've published many successful games, with Tales of Pirate and Wonderland Online being rated among our players’ favorites. But, when 2009 rolled in, we noticed how much the market for browser based games was growing.
Now, after a year spent researching and developing some quality titles, we expect 2010 to be the year we strengthen our server based market while, at the same time, explore for new opportunities in a variety of genre's.

Blend Games: Could you give a brief description of what gamers can expect from upcoming titles such as Tales of Fantasy, MythCraft Online and Dreamland Online?

Annie: Sure. In Tales of Fantasy, players can choose to join one of two warring factions. The intense competition this fosters is only increased by a host of unique battle features, including cavalry-like fighting from horseback and more.

For MythCraft Online, one of the main attractions is characters’ ability to take on the powers of the beasts they ride, like armor that surrounds their bodies.

Dreamland Online is a return to simpler gaming times. The sharp and detailed graphics in this new MMO take memories of side-scrolling classics like Contra, and bring them into the 21st Century.

Blend Games: Regarding selecting a new game to publish…what are the criteria/features that IGG looks for in an MMO? Does it have to be original? Compatible with older computers? Casual or something different from what a lot of other publishers are doing?

Annie: Well, there are two things we look for in a game. First is the overall quality of the game – from design to story and plot. It is essential to the life of the game because a good foundation allows for a game to grow and expand beyond the first 6 months.
The second factor is market demand for the game. If there is demand, and we see a way to polish a potential diamond in the rough, while also providing our signature customer service, then we will give it strong consideration. Just looking over many of our game updates, it's clear we take our players input seriously, and if there's a game feature or a game genre they want, we'll do our best to give it to them.

Blend Games: The company has a few in-house developed MMOs, and I'm sure a lot of gamers are curious if IGG will leverage the company on more in-house developed MMOs or if the company will continue forward with a heavy focus on publishing various other MMOs?

Annie: It is true that IGG started as a game publishing company, and we started off on the right foot with the quick success of games such as Tales of Pirate and Wonderland Online. These highly successful games allowed us to then begin work on developing our own games in-house.
In 2007 we broke ground on our very own development center, that turned out our first self produced title, GodsWar, a year and a half later. In the future, we will be focusing more on developing our own titles, and in 2010, we have 5 new games scheduled for release, three of which we developed.

Blend Games: Given the rise of smaller, casual, cash-shop based MMOs like Evony -- especially with their blatantly lecherous advertising campaigns -- has IGG had to reinvent or modify how to promote or market games for casual gamers?

Annie: Well, I will say that the marketing strategy Evony implemented was quite unique. When we begin to develop a strategy for marketing a new title, we start by evaluating our potential customers and then tailoring the marketing campaign to their needs. We firmly believe that our customers, and the experience they have using our website and playing our games, are the key to our success, and we do whatever we need to do to make it an enjoyable experience for them.

Blend Games: What has been the general feedback, so far, from gamers regarding the upcoming Altis Gates and Lords Online?

Annie: The gaming community has been buzzing over the recent release of Altis Gates into Closed Beta testing and we were, quite frankly, shocked by the enormous amount of interest in the game. As we've prepared it for the Open Beta phase, one of the hottest topics on the AG forum is the ability of characters to shapeshift at will. Everyone seems anxious to experience this exciting new feature.

Lords Online, our new browser-based game, has also been well received by gamers during its closed beta phase. Although it hasn't received the headlines or buzz that Altis Gates has produced, it has quietly exceeded our expectations, and we are expecting it to be a very successful addition to our stable of games.

Blend Games: Our readers would probably love to know when to expect Altis Gates and Lords Online to enter open-beta?

Annie: Well, that's a great question, and whatever is said here is sure to get the web buzzing, especially anything concrete about Altis Gates. So far, both games have almost completed their Closed Beta, and we are making some adjustments before we send them out for their Open Beta's. For more, please visit the official IGG website Thank you?

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