Kabam’s newest strategy role-playing social game, The Godfather: Five Families, comes out today on Google+ for a 45-day exclusive launch period.
The Godfather marks a couple of firsts for Kabam: It’s the developer’s first licensed game, developed with Paramount Pictures’ digital entertainment branch. It’s also the first time we’ve seen Kabam launch a game on a social network other than Facebook, where the developer originally got its start (as Watercooler Inc.) with social applications and later with hardcore massively-multiplayer combat titles like 2009’s Kingdoms of Camelot. Based on our early look at the game, The Godfather builds on Kingdoms of Camelot’s combat and citybuilding gameplay mechanics with more emphasis on narrative, art quality and shifting player rankings.
The decision to launch the game on G+ before all other platforms seems like a vote of confidence in G+ social games. To date, Google hasn’t released much information about the growth of its social network and even less data is available on the health of the social games platform, which is segregated from the rest of the social network. We don’t know much about how games are selected for the G+ platform; but we’ve heard that it’s a more intimate and competitive submissions process than what developers experience on Facebook’s games platform.
Speaking to Inside Social Games, a Google spokesperson stresses that at five months in, it’s still early days for the social network. An announcement made at the Web 2.0 conference in October claims that G+has 40 million users. While we’re sure not all of those people are playing games on G+, Google tells us that rapid game launches from major developers like Kabam, Digital Chocolate and Zynga are validation of the market.
Based on the performance of Edgeworld and Dragons of Atlantis — both Facebook games the served as G+ launch titles — Kabam tells ISG that the developer is “pleased” with monetization and traffic on the platform. This was a key factor in determining the exclusive launch period for The Godfather.
“While pleased, we’re not entirely surprised,” a spokesperson says. “We know from experience and research that core gamers actively seek out their games. Equally important is our operational experience to date. The G+ team has been very responsive and supportive of our efforts — they’ve provided excellent service and a willingness to get things done quickly and efficiently.”
Kabam goes on to say that it will evaluate The Godfather’s performance on G+ before rolling it out to other networks and platforms. Additionally, the developer will continue to run The Godfather in open beta on Kabam.com as a means of testing new features. Kabam tells us that it uses a new proprietary technology to adapt and deploy games across multiple platforms more quickly, which will make it easier to facilitate simultaneous releases in the future.
Currently, G+ offers 30 titles in its Games tab — many of which are ports of existing Facebook and mobile games. The Godfather: Five Families has been in beta testing on Kabam.com since the fall.