PerBlue Launches Big Updates for Parallel Kingdom and Boardtastic

logo_transparent_blueMobile and social game developer PerBlue has had a busy week, launching two significant updates for their mobile games.

PerBlue’s flagship game, Parallel Kingdom, saw the release of the fifth “Age” for the game. This was the first Age to be released in nearly 2 years, and contains a huge swath of new game features. The Age of Ascension marks the beginning of exploration in the air. The Sky Realm unlocks a completely separate world from the previously inhabited Land Realm. Parallel Kingdom is a location based RPG and now has over 1.6 million players from all around the world.

PerBlue also released a brand new version of their latest game, Boardtastic Skateboarding 2, which is a full 3D skating game for Android. The game drops players at the beginning of a promising skateboarding career. It’s up to them to skate their way to the top and become the best skateboarder in the world. The latest version unleashes a global multiplayer system.

Read more on their blog here.

PerBlue’s “Food for Good” Campaign Provides Meals For 2,500 Drought Victims

CE member PerBlue – a mobile and social gaming company, and PlayMob – a London based social company for gaming and doing good through games, paired last month for a unique fundraising campaign benefiting SOS Children. The virtual giving initiative resulted in a donaion of over 2500 meal vouchers for orphans affected by the droughts in Marsabit, a district in North Kenya.

During the campaign, players of PerBlue’s popular MMORPG game, Parallel Kingdom (PK) purchased the Soup Can Hat – a limited edition in-game object – using virtual currency. The hat was available for two weeks in September and sold for 550 ‘Food’, and a portion of the contribuions were then turned into real meal vouchers for SOS Children relief efforts in Kenya.

Check out the full release here and view the InfoGraphic.

PerBlue Launches 4th Age for Mobile Game Parallel Kingdom

Forrest Woolworth of PerBlue emailed me today to let me know that they just launched their third age of their popular mobile game Parallel Kingdom.  Parallel Kingdom is a mobile, location based, MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game.  PerBlue recently closed an $800,000 funding round and has been using the money to continue to grow their flagship game, Parallel Kingdom.

Launched in October 2008, Parallel Kingdom now has over 250,000 users from around the globe.  PK is one of the first games that allows users to interact in a game and in the real world at the same time.

The fourth age, called Age of Thrones, adds the new Kingdoms feature.  “Since Parallel Kingdom’s conception two years ago, we knew we wanted to let players build entire Kingdoms,” PerBlue CEO Justin Beck said. “We took our time to make sure it was done right. In my opinion, Kingdoms are the deepest and most social feature of their kind in any mobile game.”

Kingdoms will allow small and large groups to officially organize. Players work together to build and run their Kingdom by strategically allocating resources, managing diplomatic relationships, and of course, waging war. All Kingdoms will be ranked globally on their war victories as well as their overall influence.

Parallel Kingdom is available for free on the iPhone and Android.  PerBlue generates revenue by selling their virtual currency, Food, which allows users to acquire new weapons, abilities and powers.

PerBlue on LiveWire 2.0

PerBlue’s Parallel Kingdom was on LiveWire 2.0.  From the link:

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is the reference for application developers at the moment, as the App Store has reached critical mass. The natural inclination, then, is the subject of the iPhone – and by extension, the IPAD.

“The process of Apple’s approval to enter the App Store can be a mystery with little feedback from them, and they do not make any guarantees about the time that the application will sit in queue for review,” Andy Gilbertson, Vice President marketing PerBlue, a developer of mobile games, said TechNewsWorld.

“When we launched the latest version of the” Parallel Kingdom, which attempted to place long enough for Apple’s approval process, but ends up being a guessing game and guess wrong, “he said. “As a result, our version of Android hit the market about two weeks before the Apple version is approved.”

In a game like “Parallel Kingdom” – in real time, the persistent world game – two weeks is a lifetime.

“Many of our players, Apple has become very frustrated users of Android were getting such a huge advantage, and I’m sure that some players lost as a result,” Gilbertson concluded.

PerBlue in Tech News World

PerBlue’s head of marketing Andy Gilbertson was quoted in Tech News World about Apple’s approval process for applications in the app store.  From the link:

“Apple’s approval process to get into the App Store can be a mysterious one with little feedback from them, and they make no guarantees about how long your app will sit in the queue waiting to get reviewed,” Andy Gilbertson, vice president of marketing at PerBlue, a mobile game developer, told TechNewsWorld.

“When we released the latest version of ‘Parallel Kingdom,’ we tried to allot enough time for Apple’s approval process, but it ends up being a guessing game and we guessed wrong,” he said. “As a result, our Android version hit the market nearly two weeks before the Apple version was approved.”

In a game like “Parallel Kingdom” — a real-time, persistent game world — two weeks is a lifetime.

“Many of our Apple players became very frustrated that Android users were getting such a huge head start, and I’m sure we lost some players as a result,” Gilbertson concluded.

Parallel Kingdom Featured in The Guardian

PerBlue’s location based game Parallel Kingdom was featured in UK’s The Guardian in a story called Location: Facebook edges closer, while rivals plough on.  From the link:

Parallel Kingdom started as a role-playing game where users had to move in the real world to move in-game. Users reluctant to leave the sofa thought that “sucked”, so now they play with other characters in a region of a Google Map, trading items, fighting and using instant messenger. It has 125,000 registered users and 15,000 regular weekly players.

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.

Parallel Kingdom Goes Carbon Neutral With Powered Green

Parallel Kingdom, the main game of Capital Entrepreneurs member company PerBlue, partnered with Capital Entrepreneurs member company Powered Green to make the entire virtual world of Parallel Kingdom carbon neutral. From their release:

PerBlue, the developer of Parallel Kingdom, has decided to celebrate the upcoming Earth Day by purchasing enough carbon offsets to power the virtual world’s game servers with renewable energy for a full year. Parallel Kingdom is a location-based game app for iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phones. It is free to download and play.

“The thought of having the entire virtual world of Parallel Kingdom powered by clean energy was a very cool concept to us,” said the CEO of PerBlue, Justin Beck. “Our company might not be big enough to save Earth, but at least we can save our own little world. I think that kind of thinking translates well to how each person can think about their impact on their own personal world.”

In addition to powering Parallel Kingdom’s virtual world with green energy, PerBlue is putting a portion of their revenue towards additional carbon offsets for 7 days starting on Earth Day. For every $3 spent by Parallel Kingdom players, 100 pounds of carbon offsets will be purchased by PerBlue. This will start on Earth Day, and will be effective until April 29th.

Justin Beck says, “We want to do something that allows our players to make their actions count as well. Parallel Kingdom has a great community of people that play, and we want them to feel that they can do something great for the world they live in while also enjoying the Parallel world they play in.”

The carbon offsets are to be purchased through Powered Green, a carbon offset provider based in Madison, WI. Powered Green’s renewable energy credits support the operations and project costs of renewable energy sources.

Parallel Kingdom on ZDNet

Capital Entrepreneurs member PerBlue‘s main game Parallel Kingdom was featured on ZDNet’s article “Locative Gaming: The First 10 Years.“  From the link:

Kati London from Area/Code spoke at Where 2.0 today in San Jose. She had some awesome examples of how location has changed social interactions in gaming.  Parallel Kingdom in 2008 was an iPhone massively multiplayer mobile game. Similar to World of Warcraft mashed up with Google Maps.

Parallel Kingdom Breaks 100,000 Users

Parallel Kingdom, by Capital Entrepreneurs member company PerBlue, recently registered their 100,000th user.  Congrats to the PerBlue team on their continued success!  From PerBlue’s blog:

…Parallel Kingdom recently achieved a long time milestone. We now have over 100,000 PK user accounts. That’s a lot of PK’ers from all around the world.

Some other fun numbers:
1015 Cities have been founded in PK. There are 1,240,861 Flags, which represent about 425,000 km² of claimed territory across the world. That may sound like a lot, but it’s less than 1% of the Earth’s surface. That leaves 509,647,000 km² of spacious unclaimed territory – go claim some!

Parallel Kingdom Article on Gamer Road

Parallel Kingdom, from Capital Entrepreneurs member PerBlue, was featured on GamerRoad.  From the article:

…you will want to download a little game called Parallel Kingdom.  P.K. is an MMORPG style game that uses Google Maps and the phone GPS to show your current position.  The in game world is the real world.  You move your character around the map fighting monsters and chopping down trees.  All while exploring with your dog (I named mine Sayjak).  You level, loot, and stab monsters.  While it is not a graphically intensive game, it can really pull you in.  Have a few extra minutes before a movie starts?  Why not have P.K. locate your phone and see if there are any rare monsters hiding around the theater for you to kill?  Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

Parallel Kingdom Featured on Mashable

Parallel Kingdom, by Capital Entrepreneurs member company PerBlue, was featured in a Mashable blog post entitled Three Of The Best Free Multiplayer Android Games.  From the post:

Parallel Kingdom, which has been available on Android and the iPhone for some time, gives new meaning to persistent multiplayer online gaming.

The game world is overlaid on a real-time view of Google Maps. Your position on the map is determined by your mobile signal or GPS, and game events (such as encountering other players, battling monsters) happen in real time at your location.

There is a small radius within which your character can venture from the comfort of your couch. But if you want to further explore the “world,” and meet other players, you’ll have to physically get out and go there. As you delve a bit further into the game, you’ll uncover other methods of virtual travel, most of which are connected to the ways in which other players stake out territory.

The game has a lot of depth, as players can explore, collect items, even claim territory and found cities. It’s a mobile MMORPG with an augmented reality twist that takes some commitment to learn, navigate, and enjoy. But the payoff, especially for future, more graphically-rich AR and location-based games is huge.

Parallel Kingdom Nominated for Best App Ever

PerBlue’s location-based mmorpg, Parallel Kingdom was nominated for “Best App Ever” in four different categories.  From the site:

In December the Best App Ever Awards held nominations through online voting. The Parallel Kingdom community showed their dedication and as a result, PK is a finalist in FOUR categories! I’ll say it again, our players never cease to amaze me!

Finalist voting is open to the public starting now and going until January 31st. Whichever app gets the most votes in each category wins. Let’s keep this momentum going and continue to show our love for PK.

If you are interested in voting and supporting a fellow Capital Entrepreneurs member, click here.

Parallel Kingdom Featured in HTC Source

Capital Entrepreneurs member PerBlue had their flagship product Parallel Kingdom featured in HTC Source.  From the article:

…the first release of the app had me hooked from day one.  I would find myself waking through the skyways in Minneapolis on my lunch breaks just so I could discover new areas on the map so I could kill more creates and build up my stash of gold.

The latest release of the game (Parallel Kingdom – Age of Emergence) was launched in late November.  Once I reinstalled the game, I quickly realized that it was a whole new world I was walking into.  It has been over six months since I played the game.  I had to uninstall it since my wife would yell at me every time I pulled out my phone to kill a few trolls or dragons.  Age of Emergence has quite a bit to offer.  I was planning on writing up a quick review on it a few weeks back, but found out that I would need some extra time to delve into all the new features that it includes.

The real fun comes in with the addition of Cities.  Players can now team up to build a city which adds a whole new element to the game.  Once you join a city (costs 1000 Gold) you will be able to travel to it wherever you like and can trade your items in the Trading Post.  You will also get your own personal Oil Well which will collect Oil for you even while you are not playing.  Oil can then be sold, traded, or dropped for Gold so you can purchase new items from other players or upgrade your weapons.

…I’m hoping that this is enough info to get you started on your Parallel Kingdom adventure.   The game has a lot more to offer than what I’ve covered and it truly is one of the most addicting and immersive games for the Android platform.  I find myself logging in 2-3 times a day to collect my Oil, harvest Berries, and hunt Dragons. I should also mention that Parallel Kingdom is also available on the iPhone.  So don’t be surprised to find a fair number of iPhone freaks in the chat rooms and trading posts of Parallel Kingdom.

Parallel Kingdom Launches Using Innovative Strategy

Capital Entrepreneur member Per Blue is about to launch its new Age of Emergence version of Parallel Kingdom.  Below is info from their press release regarding the launch:

Beginning Halloween, October 31st, Parallel Kingdom will be having an in-game event called the Scroll Hunt that will involve players gathering randomly placed scrolls and then uniting within the game. When four players that have each found a scroll all meet at one location, they will be able to combine their individual scrolls, creating a blueprint for a one-of-a-kind building called the Great Library.

The first four players that unite and successfully build the Great Library will be documented as the founders of the new version of the game, titled “Parallel Kingdom – The Age of Emergence.” The entire scroll hunt is expected to take about two weeks, but it has the possibility to last indefinitely. The new version of Parallel Kingdom will not become available until four players get together and build the Great Library. After the Great Library begins construction, the game servers will go down to update the game. When they come back up, the new version of the game will be available in Google Market and the iTunes App Store. In the new version, the construction of the Great Library will be complete and it will exist forever in the same location where the four players decided to build it.

Justin Beck of PerBlue, Inc., the company that developed Parallel Kingdom, says “We’re really excited about the Scroll Hunt because to the best of our knowledge, no other video game has ever done anything like this.” This contest will let the players compete with each other to find the scrolls first, and then they will have to cooperate to get four people with scrolls together in the game to build the Great Library. Beck says, “Its like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with 4 golden tickets except instead of a tour, you get to usher in a whole new game title”. The four winners’ names will be permanently inscribed on the Great Library. “For the developers and players the whole event should be tons of fun.”

View their trailer for the new age here.