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No cash tournaments for European Pogo players

As EA launches regional Pogo destinations, Euro director Jeff Zie reveals to <i>GamesIndustry.biz</i> there are no current plans to offer cash prizes to players.

Despite launching localised versions of casual games service Pogo.com in Germany and the UK, Jeff Zie, director of Pogo Europe, has told GamesIndustry.biz that there are no current plans to offer cash prizes to players.

In the US, Pogo.com runs cash tournaments through a partnership with Fun Technologies' WorldWinner subsidiary, which offers up to USD 250,000 (EUR 183,884) in prizes every day.

"Right now we're not doing it. It's something we currently don't believe is appropriate for us to do, for lots of reasons," commented Zie.

"One of them is a legal thing so right now it's not a good time to be doing that. It's not essential for us at this point," he said.

For the moment Electronic Arts' market leading casual destination is content to set up European language sites and help build a gaming community.

"It's not just about coming online to play to win things — that's part of it. But Pogo's success is based on the fact that it's greater than the sum of its parts. The prize winning is just one component," said Zie.

"It's about getting people to socialise, to spend more time on Pogo and play more frequently. That's why we have our weekly social events so we can encourage players to play together."

Zie was also cryptic when asked about any exclusive deals to provide games to specialised European websites, similar to a recent deal in the US with iVillage, offering only that observers should, "wait and see".

With German and UK destinations going live today, and a French language site due imminently, more country-specific destinations also look possible.

"I think it will make sense to do," revealed Zie. "Right now we're focusing on getting the UK, Germany and France right. That would give us a good amount of coverage in Europe over the coming months and then we'll take it from there."

Electronic Arts recently launched a collection of Pogo.com titles for the Nintendo DS, taking casual games to a portable market.

Players are able earn tokens in-game that can be then uploaded to a player's online account, in what Zie called "a looped experience between handheld and PC."

Is EA looking at bringing this service to other formats such as the PSP or mobile handsets? Again, it's a question Zie was unable to answer directly.

"Right now it's something I can't really give many details on. But you can see from the DS title where we are going with that," he said.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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