FlowPlay is launching a free-to-play social casino game dubbed Casino World. That’s not exactly a big surprise, but the title has a metagame where you can build out your own virtual Las Vegas as if you were a gambling tycoon.
That’s an interesting combination of social casino and tycoon building genres, and Seattle-based FlowPlay hopes it will inject some new life into what analyst firm Eilers & Krejcik says is a $5.2 billion social casino game market. The number of social casino players isn’t growing like it once did, but the average revenue per user is going up, so the market is expanding.
Casino World is a desktop browser game in which folks play various casino-style games while building their own casino/strip of casinos. The idea is that when players win and collect their fortune, they can use that to become their own casino tycoon to build and run casinos within this virtual world.
FlowPlay’s previous games such as Our World (launched in 2008) and Vegas World (launched in 2012) have more than 75 million registered players to date. Morton hopes that Casino World will bring even more players into the fold.
Casino World features more than 40 games, including 30 slot machines. That’s a lot of content, and it’s one reason why it took the company almost two years to complete. FlowPlay launched an open beta in July.
Casino World tycoons can play their favorite games, chat with friends, share virtual goods, host parties, and build their empire alongside thousands of online players. As with FlowPlay’s earlier games, players can compete to host the most friends in their online parties in nightclubs.
FlowPlay’s newest game enables for the creation and customization of an immersive city with interactive, social elements that allow players to beat the house. Players can personalize their Casino World city by constructing and moving new buildings, from luxury hotels, to fun dance clubs to glamorous slot halls. Over time, you can build 250 buildings.
“Many of the major buildings actually have interiors,” said Derrick Morton, the CEO of FlowPlay, in an interview with GamesBeat. “People can actually go into your building and go into one of the rooms there. So there are nightclubs and restaurants and bars. They go to your city map, click on a building, and actually go see some of the rooms and walk around with their avatar in the fancy nightclub that you built. And then you can host events at those fancy nightclubs. Now people come to parties and then there’s a sort of a competition for people to be your parties. So it is a social casino at its core loop, but much, much bigger metagame on top of that, in terms of the city-building aspect of it.”
As they grow their empire, players will be rewarded with additional coins to flaunt their Casino World mogul status. Players can also construct “Party Rooms” that serve as interactive chat rooms, where users can invite friends to chat.
“FlowPlay isn’t just developing the best free-to-play online casino games, we’re fostering social and real-world relationships through the communities that we construct for our players,” said Morton. “With Casino World, we wanted players to experience a new way to interact with the casino landscape, allowing players to build their own slot and bingo halls that reward them with additional coins. Now, players can create the city of their dreams all while sharing the experience with their Casino World friends.”
Casino World features over 200 new player avatars that have distinct personality characteristics, including movement-based expressions and soundbites. As players acquire Avatar Tokens, they can access new avatar characters with more exclusive personality traits, clothes and styles.
“There’s kind of a funny storyline as soon as you progress through the game,” Morton said. “You’re first introduced to the building by this rich cowboy. But he gets replaced by the mafia at some point. Then the mafia has to leave town because the CIA has come in and run them out of town. Then the aliens come in, and vampires. It’s a very big story that could take you months and months to uncover.”
Casino World is also introducing Milestone Rewards, a new level-based reward system that pays players in exclusive Charms, additional coins, buildings for the player’s Casino World city, and Party Passes, which allow free entrance into user-run parties. As players acquire wealth within the game, they unlock new reward levels that tell an interactive story of the creation of the Casino World universe.
As an opponent to the crowded mobile app marketplaces, FlowPlay has launched Casino World exclusively for desktop play. Casino World players can access and enjoy the full featured, PC-style universe without the loss of ambience that is required to accommodate a mobile device. Casino World is the most immersive, ultra-realistic FlowPlay title with unmatched gameplay capabilities and interactivity.
FlowPlay has also partnered with Publishers Clearing House, a digital entertainment and commerce destination for millions of US consumers, for a Casino World “$25,000 Charmed Life Sweepstakes.”
Participants who register for the sweepstakes by October 27 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern will have the free chance to win a $25,000 guaranteed cash prize. About two weeks after the lucky winner is chosen, the famous Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol, along with Morton, will personally travel to the winner’s home to surprise him or her with the winning check.
“The sweepstakes guys show up to your door with these huge checks,” Morton said. “Well, I’m going to be showing up to the door with a huge check myself personally. That should be fun. So they’re doing they’re running a $25,000 each takes for people to find out about Casino World in general.”
FlowPlay was founded in 2006, and it now has 60 employees, as well as a development team in China. The company has been steadily launching new games in the social sports betting market, but it also got caught up in Adobe’s decision to retire its Flash software, as FlowPlay’s games were built on it.
“We got hit with the end of Adobe Flash,” Morton said. “We had 1.4 million lines of code on our massively multiplayer platform that we had to convert. And so that took us over two years, almost three years to build an entirely new version of Vegas World that would run on mobile, or on a browser, versus the last game that we had in the past. That took up a big chunk of time.”
As for the future, Morton said the company may experiment with subscription gaming.
“One of the things we’re experimenting with in Casino World is making it a more subscription-based product versus an in-app purchase product,” Morton said.