After five months of open beta testing, Supercell's Gunshine.net launched on Facebook. As the first real-time multiplayer role-playing game on Facebook, Gunshine.net combines concepts from core massively multiplayer online games – including real-time multiplayer and an open world – with social gaming features like hiring friends as mercenaries and a team-finding feature for taking down big, bad bosses.
"The beautiful thing about Facebook as a gaming platform is that it makes playing with your friends easier than it has ever been in the history of the gaming industry," says Ilkka Paananen, Supercell's CEO. "For this reason, we think Facebook is going to be the biggest gaming platform in the world. As an industry, we have just scratched the surface on the kind of rich social gaming experiences that this platform enables. With Gunshine.net, where players can team up and fight boss enemies in real time, we wanted to take the multiplayer experience on Facebook to a whole new level."
There"s clearly a trend toward deeper Facebook games, with an emphasis on a richer user experience that leads to a higher level of engagement. "I think these types of games will bring the core gaming audience into the world of Facebook games," continues Paananen. "We're big believers in games that are more fun when played with friends, and we truly mean 'play', in that users can play together in the same world. For us, playing together is not just about sending resources back and forth."
"Ultimately, we want to create games where people will also meet new people and make new friends. In fact, according to our beta users, the new connections they make in the game are the main reason they keep coming back to it. With Gunshine.net, where players can team up and fight boss enemies in real time, we wanted to take the multiplayer experience on Facebook to a whole new level. This real time interaction between the users is really the key, and leads to a higher level of engagement and monetization – we are seeing these users play the game four times a day with active session length being more than 30 minutes per session, they have on average ten friends they actively play with (either real life friends and/or new friends they've made via the game), and also the conversion to paying users is well above the social gaming standards at above 10%."
As for what's coming up next for Supercell, Paananen says, "Consumer expectations of quality are rapidly rising on Facebook across all categories of games – we intend to get ahead of the curve and challenge the big guys. With Gunshine.net, we wanted to reach a niche group of gamers that enjoy playing a rich, MMO-style game in a sci-fi, dystopian setting, and we wanted to prove that this type of model works on Facebook. Our next step is to widen Supercell's reach by launching games that offer similar styles of rich game play, but with themes that have broader appeal. In addition to web browser, mobile and tablet platforms will also become the focal point of our product strategy. We've got several new releases coming up over the next few months that follow these principles."
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