Interview

P4RC's social surge could deliver the next Draw Something, reckons CEO Seldon

P4RC's social surge could deliver the next Draw Something, reckons CEO Seldon
Real rewards network P4RC's decision to plug social elements into its platform is less a shift in strategy, and more an extension of what the firm was already doing.

That's the view of founder and CEO Jason Seldon, who has decided to add to his achievements-based network – which allows players to pick up physical goods for their gaming prowess – by launching a micro-tournaments feature.

Users will be able to challenge their friends via custom battles, adding not just a social gaming element to P4RC's platform, but also serving up another way for players to earn the network's virtual currency.

We caught up with Seldon for his take on what P4RC's social play could mean for developers.

Pocket Gamer: How's P4RC's real rewards network going? How many games do you have on board?

Jason Seldon: Everything has been going quite well. We have continued to prove our value proposition to developers by driving incremental downloads and increasing the average duration of gaming sessions for P4RC members.

One recent example was the success of the game Crash Cars by DevForFun. The game had been out for over six months and had not yet made a big impact on Apple's Top Charts.

Then, within a couple weeks of adding P4RC to the game, it was added to 'what's hot' in puzzle games in iTunes, and following additional promotion with P4RC, the game achieved its highest chart rankings to date with Crash Cars reaching the top 25 for puzzle games in the U.S. and the top 100 for puzzle games in over 65 other countries.

So far we have 25 games signed up, including a number of really big titles coming soon.

Interestingly, we have more paid apps than free ones on our network at the moment, which I believe points to the value we provide to developers in driving engagement in their apps.

What motivated the move to employ social gaming elements?

The vision for P4RC has always been to make every game social. Adding social gaming elements to our network fits perfectly with our mission of driving incremental downloads and increased duration of play for our partners' games.

By incentivising social game play with real-world rewards, we create a powerful viral marketing engine.

Since social players using our system can have a significant advantage over solo players in winning prizes, it encourages them to bring their friends into the game.

These friends are then incentivised to invite more friends to increase their chance of winning, and the cycle continues from there as a driver of long-term organic growth for our partners' games.

You've got 25 games on board so far. Are you looking for all P4RC games to include the updated plug-in?

Most of the technology for P4RC is actually included in our HTML5 layer.

Because of this, the SDK itself is only around 100kb in size. So as soon as we pushed our version 2.0 update with the new social layer, all of our partners' games instantly included this new feature without requiring an update to their games.

So all P4RC games will include this social functionality.

Do you worry adding tournaments to your make up will put you in competition with other established social gaming networks?

I believe that by blending our social challenge feature with our real-world rewards network, we have effectively created something new.

The App Store is filled with single player arcade, action and puzzle titles that are not currently part of the established social gaming networks.

Our goal is to serve all of these developers by helping them instantly make their games social so they can benefit from the same social leverage that drove titles such as Words with Friends and Draw Something to the top of the charts.

Does this signify a move away from P4RC's achievement-based set up, or will they remain the focus?

We have not changed our focus at all.

Instead we have taken our initial set up and expanded it to allow players to more easily share the great experience they have been having on P4RC with their friends.
Thanks to Jason for his time.
Editor

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. As PocketGamer.biz editor, he has the pleasure of monitoring the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.

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Jason Seldon
Hi Dave,

Great interview today! Leaf Rider looks fantastic. I'm really looking forward to playing it.

With respect to Crash Cars, you are correct that once it showed up on "What's Hot," it became difficult to separate the impact of P4RC vs. the impact of iTunes visibility. My point was that the game had been out for more than 6 months without getting any attention. Then P4RC helped give it the spark (with a spike in downloads and usage) that led to the iTunes feature.
Mitch (Dave Mitchell) Games Designer at OniMobi
"within a couple weeks of adding P4RC to the game, it was added to 'what's hot' in puzzle games in iTunes, and following additional promotion with P4RC, the game achieved its highest chart rankings to date with Crash Cars reaching the top 25 for puzzle games in the U.S. and the top 100 for puzzle games in over 65 other countries."

How do you know what effect P4RC really had? i.e would the game have charted the same simply being featured in 'what's hot'? You can't under-estimate the power of that visibility in the App Store.
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