"[Kixeye] sounds cool, but we also wanted to change our name because we don't make casual games anymore," says CEO Will Harbin. "We're focused on making games with traditional game mechanics and gameplay."
To that point: The company recently released a new Facebook game -- Battle Pirates -- which borrows heavily from more traditional real-time strategy games and is clearly designed to appeal to fans of this more "hardcore" video game genre.
With Battle Pirates, Harbin says he hopes to unlock that niche market of StarCraft-loving suits. Set far in the future in 2067, the game allows players to control fleets of naval nightmares as they violently batter each other with a list of futuristic weaponry. In addition to a story for players to follow, all the action happens in real time against other players.
"We're trying to expand the social gaming audience,' he says, "so our theory is that of the 700 million plus Facebook accounts, there are tons of people with Xboxes and PlayStations at home, and they don't see Facebook as a viable gaming platform because, frankly, to them, the games suck."
And, Harbin agrees, that a vast majority of Facebook games, do indeed, "suck."
"A year ago, 100% of the Facebook games suck, and now about 99% of them suck," he says.
So that begs the question -- how do we know that Kixeye's game fall into that same sucky category? Players, so far, seem to be voting with their wallets. Harbin tells Venture Beat that, in Backyard Monsters, 6 percent of players paid up, while 9 percent of players are paying in Battle Pirates already.
We'll have a full review of the game soon, but stats like that show that social gaming is just starting to reach its full potential with the 'hardcore' gaming set.
Additional reporting by Libe Goad and VentureBeat.
Click here to play Battle Pirates on Facebook Now >
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