Playdom’s NBA Dynasty basketball simulation game is one of two officially licensed NBA Facebook games alongside Lionside’s NBA Legend, which launched in February. Despite the common ground, Playdom doesn’t see the games are rivals because of the different approaches to gameplay.
According to metrics on AppData, NBA Dynasty is showing steady growth after its April 16 soft launch. The game hasn’t received much marketing, but already has a steadily-rising MAU figure of 48,000 and DAU relatively stable around the 7,000-8,000 mark.
NBA Dynasty’s gameplay revolves around two main aspects: collecting players to form a team, then coaching this team to win as many games as possible. Players are collected by purchasing “packs,” similar to how customizable card games work. Each pack contains a random selection of players who can be recruited into the team, and the players involved cover the NBA’s history back to 1946. As a result, this means there are a number of duplicates reflecting players at different stages of their career.
Packs of players along with consumable items, boosts and other gameplay enhancements can be purchased using either in-game currency, earned by winning games, or with the game’s premium currency of Crowns, which are acquired via Facebook Credits. More powerful items and players require the use of Crowns to purchase, while the first few articles in each category can be acquired by simply using the in-game currency, or through exchanging gifts with friends.
Coaching of the team takes place via an abstract representation of the basketball game. The first part of the game is skipped through, then it’s up to the player to monitor the stamina and performance of their team, substituting players with those on the bench when necessary. Following the game, NBA highlight movies are played, which has been a popular feature, according to Markus Krichel, senior producer of the game.
“We have thousands of movies,” says Krichel. “So much, in fact, that we can customize the movie selection to include players that are part of your current team.”
The game has a number of social features befitting a competitive sports title. Facebook friends who are also playing the game can send gifts and boosts to each other, while opponents for the player’s team to compete against are picked from all over Facebook, not just the player’s friends. This offers the opportunity for the player to find and befriend other NBA Dynasty fans on Facebook.
In contrast Lionside’s NBA Legend focuses more on building up the capabilities of an individual player avatar rather than purchasing, constructing and coaching a team themselves. Legends also uses a completely different set of social hooks between friends. In fact, Krichel doesn’t believe the two games are really “rivals” at all.
“There are many sports games available on Facebook these days,” Krichel says. “But I would not necessarily call them rivals in the traditional sense. They all have their strong points, but NBA Dynasty’s mix of very deep simulation, historical accuracy, tactics and video highlights is unique among them.”
Looking forward, Playdom’s plan for the future of NBA Dynasty is to incorporate league and tournament play. League play will be where the more serious competition will take place, while tournament play will allow friends to set up their own custom competitions. Further gameplay enhancements to lend an air of authenticity to the experience, such as a trophy room and the ability to negotiate TV deals, are also in the works, as is an Achievement system.
You can follow NBA Dynasty’s progress on AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.