eRepublik exclusive interview

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eRepublik is a strategy browser-based free game with a deep focus on social interaction. With the recent release of the new version, eRepublik Rising, it is earning even more attention than before. Free MMO Station spoke with Alexis Bonte, co-founder and CEO of eRepublik to learn more about the past, present and future of this MMO.

Can you start by introducing yourself to our readers?

I’m Alexis Bonte, I’m 34 and I’m one of the co-founders of eRepublik where I’m also the CEO. I’m in charge of developing the company, designing its strategy and I’m also responsible for the marketing and finance areas. I previously worked as the managing director of lastminute.com in Italy and of livra.com. I’m an entrepreneur and a member of the boards of several companies as well.

How would you describe eRepublik, and what makes it so appealing to millions of players?

eRepublik is a multiplayer strategy game world and we think it is so appealing to players because 100% of the game-play is based on their interaction with other citizens and because of the great number of possibilities they have to generate their own content.

Would eRepublik be the same without the deep focus on the social interaction?

No. Social interaction is part of the game’s DNA and many goals within the game cannot be achieved without the help and collaboration of other citizens. eRepublik is among the first of a third generation of online social games whose growth is based on virality and that are truly multiplayer.

When you started working on eRepublik with only a few people, did you ever think the game would grow as big as it is today?

We thought we had a great idea in our hands that was meant to become bigger with the help and inputs of a dedicated community but it is difficult to forecast where your limits are. We will keep listening to our citizens in order to evolve and provide them with the best game experience.

The eRepublik Rising update recently launched. What are the major changes and how is the community reacting to it?

eRepublik Rising provides users with more tools to change and rewrite the course of history in the New World. There are new strategies, new industries and product customization, new professions, a new war module including new weapons and Player vs Player fights, and an improved time management tool to organize each citizen’s daily activity. They have received the new version with enthusiasm and it is yet too early to know their reaction.

The player feedback was very important for the new version. Why did you choose this path to create eRepublik Rising and didn’t go the usual route – designing and implementing your own ideas?

The new version is the result of many inputs: One year of marketing research through surveys; the eRepublik Insiders (official in game bulletin with more than 140,000 subscribers and thousands of feedback comments per article); monitoring of the most voted articles: More than 50.000 newspapers in eRepublik; monitoring of external forums, chats and blogs (there are hundreds of external fan sites); follow up of Twitter.com/erepublik and Facebook.com/erepublik fan pages feedback; the practical lessons from the launch of new features: trial & error learnings and, last but not least the direct feedback received from the players.

We have given so much importance to players feedback and involvement because a game can only be as big and good as its community of players, that is what is making eRepublik so good.

What is your vision for eRepublik five years or so from today?

We haven’t even reached half of what the game is meant to be. If we maintain and improve the game play experience and keep receiving the support of our community eRepublik will definitely be one of the greatest online social strategy games.

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