First of all, the company has completed its merger with K2 Networks, with the new organisation focused behind the Reloaded Games brand. The development division will stay as Reloaded Productions, while the consumer site retains the Gamersfirst.com branding.
Reloaded has also completed a new round of funding, to allow the company to take advantage of the growth and evolution of the online gaming and free2play markets. The investment is an undisclosed amount, but was secured from Cascade Finance Partners and facilitated by Arkenstone Investment.
Finally, Reloaded is expanding its online games platform, which boasts a global audience of over 30M players and has stated that it will be making further announcements in the near future about “the future of the publishing platform targeting independent game developers, ” according to Reloaded Games CEO, Bjorn Book-Larsson.
In an exclusive interview on VentureBeat, the company also states that cross-platform gaming is a priority moving forward, with simultaneous PC & Mac releases already underway and Andoid, iOS and Wii versions to follow. Mr Book-Larsson also told VentureBeat that console support is also entirely possible, should the major manufacturers actually open their hardware up to such a possibility:
“Microsoft and Sony continue appearing to have religious issues with free2play and a penchant for forcing everyone into a locked sandbox, though we presume that might change given the market direction, and maybe it will open up the ability to connect across sand-box lines. From a purely technical side there is no technical issue in porting the game.”
There are several interesting twists within this story. The first is the fact that the investor, Cascade, specifically mentions the fact that they own a number of other games-related properties, including the GameWorks chain of restaurants, which feature a family-friendly gaming focus. Howard Brand, the managing partner for Cascade states in the press release there are: “terrific synergies and untapped opportunities between our gaming and entertainment properties.”
The information regarding the company’s platform is also quite revealing. Reloaded has a very large global audience and has worked with a number of developers in the past to bring new titles and existing properties to the online free2play market – APB Reloaded for example. If they plan to make their platform more open, it could provide a new route to market for a large number of developers and publishers with existing back catalogues, or possibly new ideas. The company’s experience in handling large numbers of players and micro transactions could make this a fascinating new opportunity for smaller developers with no back end capabilities or experience.
Looking to the future, Book-Larsson said, “our new focus is on games that are cross-platform capable.” Taikodom, a sci-fi MMO, and Hailan Rising, a fantasy MMO with an emphasis on player-vs-player battles, are both due for release later this year, and will come out as PC and Mac games first, with Android, iPad and Wii versions following in 2013. Book-Larsson said, “we are actually looking at Wii U as well. Given the 2013 release, if Wii U appears to have traction, we are likely to produce a version for that as well.”
Cross-platform gameplay may well be possible on these upcoming titles. “Based on the outcome of the gameplay tests, we will determine if the different devices will be permitted to share one universe. For Hailan Rising it’s likely the gameplay experience will be sufficiently similar that we can open up the connection between PC/Mac and Tablet versions,” said Book-Larsson.