If the last year in gaming has taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected. The global success of the Wii has been attributed to Nintendo making "games for non-gamers" and, with this in mind, a new online games portal has just been launched, alaplaya.
Massively popular in Asia already, over 20,000 European users signed up to alaplaya in the two week beta trial, meaning its creators, Burda:ic, had to push the live launch forward by several weeks. Now, a couple of months on, more than 55,000 users across Europe have signed up to play on the games portal.
The big difference with alaplaya is in the design. Manga anime has never looked so good with weird and wonderful games to match. Players can kit out and customise their avatars, depending on the games you play and the points you accrue. Community is a big factor too with alaplaya - users are encouraged to interact with each other and hang out online.
The games appeal to all levels, from the beginner to the more hardcore gamer. Games are easy to play but hard to master so there are plenty of challenges along the way. You can either get competitive and challenge others to a dance off on 'Audition' - which, in Asia has an incredible 300 million-strong user base already; keep up your cyber fitness with 'Fantasy Tennis'; or go on a fast adventure with 'Come On Baby'. As with the Wii, this phenomenon proves that games don't have to always be shoot 'em ups to secure mass demand.
Like all the best web 2.0 sites, alaplaya gives you the chance to virtually hang out with other players through chat rooms, forums, notice boards and through instant messaging. On 'Fantasy Tennis', for example, users can spend time customising their own house and garden or even go fishing. During the two week beta test these social features proved hugely popular with message boards in six different languages jammed with conversations, ideas and tips from all over the world.
So, for those who didn't get a chance to get away this summer, escape to the greatest online beach party without leaving home : www.alaplaya.eu
Check out the trailers at: www.sevenload.com/alaplaya
If you would like to receive a demonstration disc or have press access to the portal, please contact:
T: 0208 322 1922
Burda:ic GmbH markets and distributes so-called Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) throughout Europe such as 'Ragnarok Online' and establishes interactive gamer communities around them. Hubert Burda Media views the gaming industry as a key medium through which they can reach out to young target groups. www.burda-ic