IGG 4th Anniversary Interview: Getting games since 2006
Questions by Mohammed Afzal (MageMoa), OnRPG Journalist
Answered by Daniel Lin, IGG Marketing Director
IGG is one of the most successful Free to Play companies around with popular titles such as Tales of Pirates and Angels Online. Their fourth anniversary, which took place earlier this year, was the perfect time for them to release more updates and announce new games. IGG decided to give us here at OnRPG a chance to ask them how it all began and how exactly they celebrated their fourth anniversary. We interviewed Daniel Lin, Marketing Director at IGG, who revealed some interesting facts about IGG and their upcoming games.
OnRPG: Hello! First of all, congratulations on your fourth anniversary! Could you introduce yourself to our readers, please?
Thanks! My name is Daniel Lin, currently working at IGG as Marketing Director. Even though I have over 6 years of extensive experience in the video game industry, I started coding games as an amateur in 2001. I didn’t get very far, but then spent two years as a Text Contributor freelancing for game magazines while at university. I lived in Britain for several years before joining IGG and now I work with our many different media, publisher and marketing partners.
OnRPG: IGG has been around for four years! How did it all start?
IGG was conceptualized and eventually brought to life in 2006 by a group of game enthusiasts turned developers with considerable interest and influence in the Asian gaming scene. IGG released two MMOs, Myth War Online and Voyage Century Online, the same year, and just kept growing from there, welcoming more and more registered users as time went on. Then IGG released its most popular MMO, Tales of Pirates, which became the first IGG game to achieve more than 10,000 concurrent online players in North America. In 2007 and 2008, IGG received nearly 15 million dollars in venture capital and has continued to release a string of excellent MMOs in the past two years, including GodsWar Online and Lords Online.
The IGG Office
OnRPG: IGG means ‘I Got Games’. Why did you decide to use this name?
For one, it’s easy to remember, but it also tells players that we have a variety of games to satisfy different tastes. We now have 17 games, including client, browser-based and SNS types. Players who like strategy, adventure, sci-fi or fantasy games won’t be disappointed by what we have to offer. There’s something for everyone.
OnRPG: IGG currently has fifteen MMOs! That is quite unique for a company publishing in North America. It is also mentioned on your site that you are planning to release many more. Wouldn’t it be easier to focus on your current MMOs?
Well, it would be easier to focus on our current MMOs, but if we had been content with only building on our successes, we wouldn’t have the depth we do today. Technology develops very quickly in the gaming industry, and players’ favorite games change day by day. We make every effort to improve ourselves so we can develop more entertaining games for our devoted players.
Over the past three years, our attention has been focused almost exclusively on the MMORPG market. We’ve published many successful games such as Tales of Pirates and Wonderland Online, which consistently rank among our players’ favorites. As 2009 rolled in, though, we saw how the market for browser-based games was growing. After spending a year researching and developing some quality browser-based titles, we expect 2010 to be the year we strengthen our server-based market while continuing to explore new opportunities in a variety of genres.
OnRPG: It must be quite tough to keep everything running, even as a big company. Are you able to keep all your titles updated and are you able to provide enough support for your players?
As our company has grown, more and more people who love games have joined us. For instance, each game has a project team in charge of game updates, news, and announcements on the official websites, online and offline events, and Live Support so we can offer players timely, high-quality service.
OnRPG: What sets IGG, other than the huge number of MMOs, apart from other MMO companies?
Comparatively speaking, IGG has its strengths in being highly sensitive toward gamers’ needs, and as such is flexible in crafting its games and their contents toward satisfying these needs. It’s just like a car company that sells different brands of cars. These cars may have different features, prices, and shapes, but each one will be the perfect fit for someone’s needs. That’s what we do at IGG. We also do our best to create a solid social networking community for players. Communication is especially important both in-game and out. We design our user interfaces especially with that in mind. Our goal is to make IGG.com an indispensable part of a gamer’s life, just like Facebook and Twitter.
OnRPG: What is, in your opinion, IGG’s most successful MMO and why?
It has to be Tales of Pirates. After we officially released the game in March 2007, we surpassed 200,000 registered users in two short months. Now, it has nearly 5,000,000 registered users because of its entertaining pirate stories, comical characters, splendid scenery and abundance of fun quests.
OnRPG: Are there any MMO companies with whom you have a special deal or connection? If not, what is your favorite company apart from IGG and why?
We began working in cooperation with some well-known MMO companies this year. For example, we signed a cooperation contract with CIB, a game publisher from Malaysia, during E3 and ChinaJoy this year. They will publish Dreamland Online which is developed by IGG in Malaysia.
OnRPG: One of your upcoming games is Dreamland Online, a side-scroller with a unique pet system. Could you tell us a bit more about this MMO?
Featuring 3D characters in a side-scrolling world, Dreamland will capture the hearts of MMO gamers and console lovers alike. Whether players choose to traverse across the bright and colorful East Continent or the dark and foreboding West Continent, they will be entertained by the plethora of eccentric quests and hilarious mini-games, such as skateboarding and hip-hop dancing. Players can also adopt pets who will become their partners in battle, serve as trusted steeds, or help them transform into powerful and eccentric creatures. They can spend time meeting other players, fall in love, and even enjoy DO’s adorable marriage system with that special someone.
OnRPG: Tales of Pirates II seems to be quite similar to the original Tales of Pirates. What are the biggest differences and what exactly does TOP II have to offer?
In ToP II, we have significantly improved the graphics of the game and also adjusted the viewing angle. The overall user interface is a lot cleaner, as well. Besides these visual enhancements, we’ve also introduced many new features to the game, such as the Rear Fairy system, the Treasure Digging system, Sea Battles and the PVP Arena. These are just some of the exciting new contents players can look forward to.
OnRPG: What kinds of events did you hold in to celebrate your fourth anniversary? Could you give us some examples, please?
Players can enjoy a wide variety of events in our games and through the forums. For example, Wonderland Online players might end up with an IGG Happy Pack simply by defeating level 10+ monsters during an event. We’re constantly coming up with new events to keep things fresh for our players through the seasons and for special occasions like our fourth anniversary.
OnRPG: Did you celebrate the fourth anniversary in any particular way in real life?
We all got together and had a party. I remember one colleague from the Service Center grabbed an iPad 16G, the prize for first place prize in the lottery. It was a blast to get together and celebrate, but we were right back at work soon enough.
OnRPG: What can we actually expect from IGG in 2011?
Mostly we have released our English version games in Asian markets, but we’ve been attracting more and more players from Britain, America, Europe and Asia over the years. That’s why we released Malay and Thai versions of games in the first half of 2010. In the future, we’re looking forward to publishing our games in more languages.
OnRPG: Could you reveal some more information about your upcoming games? Could we have some names or some information?
In the first half of 2010, we launched Tales of Fantasy and Tales of Pirates II. We’re planning to release two more MMOs in late 2010: MythCraft Online and Dreamland Online, both developed by IGG. We’ll bring these two games along with GodsWar Online and 100 Year War at GamesCon 2010. In MythCraft Online, one of the main attractions will be the ability for player characters to take on the powers of the beasts they ride, like armor that surrounds their bodies. Dreamland Online is a return to simpler gaming times. The sharp and detailed graphics in this new MMO take concepts from side-scrolling classics like Contra and bring them into the 21st century.
OnRPG: Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
Our newest game, Tales of Pirates II, has finished its Closed Beta and very soon we’ll be migrating player data over from the original TOP servers. Players who are interested in pirate movies, cartoons or adventures at sea are welcome to join in the fun. I’d also like to thank OnRPG for its unwavering support over the years.
OnRPG: Thank you for your time!