Capital Entrepreneurs and Merlin Mentors Joint Meeting a Success

Last night, MERLIN Mentors and Capital Entrepreneurs held a joint event at the University Research Park.  It was a great opportunity for CE members to meet successful entrepreneurs in MERLIN Mentors and bridge the gap between some of the newer startups in town with those who have been successful in the past.

Entrustet, PerBlue, GoBuzz, GeoHuddle, Door-6, Student Spill, Y-Innovation, Sector 67, Hardin Design and Development and Badger Trips were among the companies in attendance representing Capital Entrepreneurs.

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. Read more about how the Payless Power  can impact our lives in a positive way.

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.

CE Members Testify at EDC Hearing

Capital Entrepreneurs members Nathan Lustig of Entrustet and Forrest Woolworth of PerBlue attended the Madison Economic Development Commission hearing last night to testify about the tech community’s efforts to bring Google Fiber’s test to Madison.  Lustig testified on behalf of Capital Entrepreneurs and spoke about the CE website, Google Fiber Facebook fan page and the Google Fiber Twitter Account. CE member Matt Younkle is on the EDC as the High Tech representitive.

Check out the story on Dane 101 or in The Badger Herald for more information.

If you are interested in helping out, contact us or post in the comments!

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 Featured on Zmogo

Capital Entrepreneurs member company PerBlue was featured in a story on Zmogo to talk about PerBlue’s success creating a virtual economy in its game Parallel Kingdom.  From the article:

In its short history, the Parallel Kingdom franchise has pioneered several firsts: first real-time MMORPG for iPhone and Android, and the first location-based MMORPG on iPhone and Android. Now the developer, PerBlue, is continuing to take the game into new territory – a micro-transaction based mobile economy.

In the MMO genre, virtual economies are common and almost inevitable in some cases. In Parallel Kingdom, a de facto in-game economy naturally evolved when the developers first gave players the ability to drop items on the ground and transfer gold directly from player to player. This style of trading was unregulated and led to scamming in which players would drop items on the ground for trade only to be picked up by the other player who sometimes never sent any gold. Even with these limitations, a very active economy flourished in the game.

 In the new version, a consummable resource called “Food” is required for some features. Every new player starts with some for free, and they can get more by purchasing it in the game or trading with other players. This allows players to acquire more of this resource without having to pay money if they don’t want to.

 In addition, trade posts and cities have been introduced. These allow players to trade with each other safely and securely. Players put items up for sale and other players visiting the city can browse and buy anything they come across. This has led to many players making careers in the game solely as traders, visiting trade posts, scouting out good deals and selling in another city.

Parallel Kingdom Launches on iPhone, Android

PerBlue, Inc. has released a new title in its popular “Parallel Kingdom” line of location-based games. The game, “Age of Emergence” is now available in the iTunes App Store and the Google Android Market. Age of Emergence can be played on all iPhones, iPod Touch, and Android phones. It is free to download and free to play.  From their release:

Madison, WI November 25, 2009 — PerBlue, Inc. has released a new title in its popular “Parallel Kingdom” line of location-based games. The game, Age of Emergence, is now available in the iTunes App Store and the Google Android Market. Age of Emergence can be played on all iPhones, iPod Touch, and Android phones. It is free to download and free to play.

The Age of Emergence adds a large number of features and significantly increases the depth of the whole game. Among the new features is the ability to found and expand cities with other players. There are four new types of dungeons players can explore and the locations of these dungeons are linked to actual features on the Google Map. Water on the Google Map is now also clearly distinguished and is played differently, adding another linkage between the game and real life. Also, all players are now ranked on a weekly basis in 20 different categories, and the top player in each category wins a trophy hat for their character.

In addition to new features, the previous game features have also been expanded by adding over a dozen new buildings, many new creatures to hunt, and over 30 new items to collect.

The developers of Parallel Kingdom will monetize the game using a micropayment-based business model. Players will be able to buy an in-game resource called Food using their iTunes account or Google Checkout. The functionality used by Parallel Kingdom for these in-app purchases was only recently added to Apple products in the 3.0 OS.

PerBlue’s Parallel Kingdom Featured In New York Times

Capital Entrepreneurs member PerBlue was mentioned in the New York Times today.  Parallel Kingdom, PerBlue’s location based game for mobile devices like the iPhone and Android phones, is launching its new age Friday after an innovative prelaunch.  Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times Article:

Players immersed in Parallel Kingdoms need to be wary in case digital dragons or other mythical creatures are lurking nearby.

“The whole world is covered in creatures” said Justin Beck, the chief executive of PerBlue, the creator of the game. “Wherever you go, you can stumble upon these creatures. You can combat them. You defeat some of them and partner with others. Some dragons are very vicious and you want to defeat them, but some trolls are very kind and they can help.”

Proactive Sleep Featured On Gizmodo’s Top 10 Apps of the Week

Capital Entrepreneur member Proactive Sleep was featured as #3 on Gizmodo’s list of top 10 apps of the week.  Here’s what they said:

Proactive Sleep: Is there a such thing as a sleep coach? Let’s assume there is! In a nutshell, that’s what this app, designed with SCIENCE, aims to be. It’s an alarm clock at its core, which wakes you up with music of your choice then challenges you to a game, or offers you a dream diary. It’ll also track your sleep patterns and warn you when you’ve dipped below average. A little steep at five dollars, but it’s fairly polished and written by a bon-a-fide sleep researcher.

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.

PerBlue’s Proactive Sleep Featured on CBS News

Capital Entrepreneurs member Per Blue’s Proactive Sleep iPhone app was featured on CBS News:

This is the next generation of alarm clocks. Unlike an alarm clock that just wakes you up, this alarm clock enables you to get personalized feedback about the consistency of your sleep schedule. It records and tracks when you go to bed, based on when you set the alarm and when you get up, based on when the alarm goes off. It records and tracks how many times you awaken at night, based on when you press a button. You then play a stimulating game in the morning that suggests your level of fatigue.

Behavioral treatments for insomnia have been shown to just as effective as medications. This device gives you a tool that helps you set a schedule, then monitors it and records the outcome or level of fatigue. This application provides you with an alternative that would otherwise require professional support that could be expensive. The cost means iPhone and iPod users can try it without much downside. If, after a month, you’re still struggling, you can reach out to a sleep specialist and have information to show them.