Interview on History and Future of this Game
I started playing PPM after clicking a link on the internet. I was just starting playing football and so I created a footbal team. It suited me that everyone had the same possibilities here and the PRO pack, even though it made playing easier, didn't give you any real advantage for real money. You don't have to spend all your free time on the game every day. All you need are a few clicks and your team is ready to progress. I have always been one of the critics of a lot of stuff in the game, but despite that, the game has become a passion for me. It was because of the people. People who made this more than just a game. I have personally met many of the managers as well as the creators of this game. That made this game stand out for me. Unfortunately this family atmosphere has gradually disappeared from the game and most managers that I got to know thanks to this game, have already abandoned their teams. I wonder what drove them to that. A lot of people think it's dying out here. That the community, that was so closely bound, no longer exists as it used to. But there are still plenty of managers here, nice people, who you can chat with on the forums and many of whom are our rivals in the leagues. I have asked Mr. Ivan Krechňák a.k.a. manager tuttle how he sees things.
What led to the creation of PPM or can you tell it's history shortly?
Several years before we founded the company I have been helping/cooperating in other manager games. First as an active player with ideas and later on as an internal team member. In 2007 I founded my own company together with two other people and our goal was to make the top manager game on the market with the possibiliy of a multisport portal that wasn't availabel in any other game at that time. So we started working on it and as you know, we released our first game in 2009, which was a hockey manager. It was very hard, we have been working on it for a long time just the three of us during the nights, later there was four of us and whether or not we would release the game was hanging in the balance. I came up with n unusual marketing strategy where we have 100,000 people already signed up for the game without even having a game and we have been getting messages saying that we only serve as an email address collector for marketing and that we are a fraud and stuff like that. Finally hockey was released in 2009 and so our journey began.
How do you remember the times when there were meetings, community was growing and the game was still being developed?
It was awesome and unique. I have plenty of great friends from those days, many of which don't play our games any more, but we still call each other sometimes or meet each other. I felt back then that the people supported us and that we are doing something for them. There were some 100 people I think on the record-breaking meeting in Prague. Hats off to them...
Why did this family atmosphere, which made it more than just a game, disappear?
I am sorry about that, but the truth is that we have grown so much that we got past that point when you can make things just on enthusiasm while drinking tea. People usually don't realize two things:
- A project like this costs an awful lot of money if you work on it actively. The ad revenues have hit rock bottom after 2008 basically everywhere. They are not a factor any more.
- PowerPlay Manager was created in a time when the financial models for games were completely different than today.
Today it's the freemium model, where you get advantages in the game for real money, that rules EVERYWHERE. Anyone who has the money can become a top player within a few weeks, that's the way it works. Nobody even thinks about that any more. But we didn't go this way in PowerPlay Manager. I regret that now, because if we did, we could have kept developing these games. But it wasn't possible back then. Remember how the community lashed out for even a small paid feature that faintly resembled some advantage in the game. And to be honest, we don't really have any such feature there. These people did not realize that with these kind of reactions they basically don't let us make bigger changes in the game, because there is no money for that. That's just the way it is.
Is the game in its final version? Is it possible that there will be new game features implemented in the game or some user friendly features?
We didn't leave PowerPlay alone, we are making some rolling updates, but those are really minor things. To be honest, if the financial model in the game isn't fixed, there will not be anything big. To change the financial model, it would require support from the community of players.
Do you plan adding a new sport?
At this point, as I have said, it's not possible. If we find that the community will accept the change of financial model of the game and the implementation of credit features that will give advantages to a paying user, we would probably go for it and start working on a new sport and some upgrades.
Do you plan to restart any of the sports?
Not at this time, but we do have a new hockey game in the works which will have some strong managerial elements in it. It should be released next year so that should be something for the hockey fans.
What would you advise to managers to avoid loss of motivation?
Motivation is a complicated thing. Manager games like this one have a real problem these days. Nowadays it's all about games where you can achieve success fast and you only need to invest 5 minutes. But manager games require the same thing as life itself - making the right decisions and long term work. So the best motivation I think, is to give yourself some goal in the game and try to achieve it. A lot of people try starting the game from scratch and that's one way to go.
What would be your closing remarks?
I would like to thank all our players, especially those, who have helped us over the years. You are great and I am glad to have known you.
I have made this interview with Ivan some time ago, but if it was done in this pre-holiday period, I am sure he would wish you all Merry Christmas, peace and family atmosphere. I would like to wish you the same and I would also like to wish you lots of good decisions in the new year.