Parallel Kingdom Featured in Venture Beat

PerBlue’s Parallel Kingdom was featured on Venture Beat yesterday in a story called New Generation of Location Based Games Catches On. From the article:

Then there’s Parallel Kingdom (pictured) for the iPhone and Android platforms, designed by a company called PerBlue in Madison, Wisc. It has 125,000 registered users, of which around 15,000 are active on a weekly basis, with an average session time of 18 minutes. Players typically play the game for 1-3 months.

Parallel Kingdom is reminiscent of role playing games (or RPGs) on the computer or a games console in that it is loaded with features such as a fighting mechanism, a virtual aid to the player, leveling up the character, instant messaging with other players, trading items and food and so on. The character can move in a certain area of a map in the game (projected on Google Maps) and proceed to other areas as they play the game further.

Parallel Kingdom used to be completely tied to players’ location, which meant a player had to physically move in the real world before being able to move in the virtual game world—a feature the designers thought would be cool, but the players didn’t. “We learned that the hard way,” Says Justin Beck, CEO of PerBlue. “The feedback we got from our first iteration was almost uniform: It sucks!”

Now Parallel Kingdom is more lenient in the way actual location is featured in the game. Players don’t really want anything to hinder their experience of a game. If they have five minutes to entertain themselves, the last thing they need is to be told to get off the couch and move.

“We also found that people in general don’t go to that many locations in their lives on a daily basis. They go to school or work, to the gas station, or grocery store and so on. And if you, as a game designer, make them go to a specific location, then you are playing them. So we try to make things that are fun and location-relevant, like checking out where your friends are in the game,” Beck explains.

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