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App News: GMT and Playdek Form Partnership to Bring GMT Catalog to Digital

David Neumann
United States
Whitefish Bay
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In life you have to do a lot of things you don't f*cking want to do. Many times, that's what the f*ck life is... one vile f*cking task after another.
App News

From gallery of Neumannium

GMT Games and Playdek Form Strategy and War Game Partnership
The folks at GMT Games have been teasing a major announcement in their monthly updates for the past few months. All that teasing ends today as we can finally announce that GMT and Playdek have signed a major deal to bring a bunch of GMT's vast library to our screens.

What does this all mean? Well, for starters it means that we'll be seeing Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? on Steam for PC/Mac before the end of 2018, and it will be on iOS and Android in 2019. We'll also see its expansion, Labyrinth: The Awakening, 2010 – ? released on digital, but after the base game's release.

From gallery of Neumannium

That's not all! We'll also be getting a digital version of Imperial Struggle and our first digital game from the Series: COIN (GMT). Yes, COIN is coming to our iPads! They're still tight-lipped about which COIN title we'll see first, but we should see it and Imperial Struggle both in digital form by the end of 2019.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Future collaboration will include more COIN titles and games from other GMT series as well [please, oh please, digitize 1846: The Race for the Midwest -ed.]. As for platforms, we know that they'll be targeting PC/Mac as well as iOS and Android devices. Will it be tablets only? We managed to talk to Playdek CEO, Joel Goodman, and asked him that very question (as well as a few others).

iOS Board Games: When did this come about? If Labyrinth is due out in the next 6 months, you must have been working on this for a while now. Curious how long you and GMT have been sitting on this.

Joel Goodman: We knew that Labyrinth would be our next game with GMT for about a year now, but the idea of forming a partnership with GMT to build a digital strategy game business came out of some meetings I had at GDC this year. We were looking for opportunities to collaborate in this space, and came away thinking, "Why don't we just do this with our friends at GMT?". They have an incredible depth of IP created by world class designers, and we have the ability to bring it into the video game realm.

iOSBG: When you mention a “partnership” between Playdek and GMT, what does that entail? How is the “partnership” going to play out for both fans of GMT and Playdek?

JG: First, everyone knows how incredible the games that GMT releases are. Gene Billingsley has one of the best senses of product that I have ever seen and really knows his games, his customers, and this genre. He and the team are critical in helping us form a product plan, as a digital team like ours has a limited capacity to what we can take on. Ultimately, it is up to Playdek as to what games will get slated in over the years, but that decision is arrived through collaborative discussions with GMT.

iOSBG: The partnership is described as “long term”. What does that mean? Do you see yourself porting GMT games for the foreseeable future or is this a “we’ll make x games in x years and sort it out after that” kind of thing?

JG: As of now, we see this as a very long term strategy for both sides. We don't have an end date to the partnership, and believe me we could do this for the next 20 years and still not make a dent in the GMT catalog! As in all partnerships, we will adjust and modify things as we go, where games that we currently think we will be making 3 years from now might not get made, and games we haven't considered could easily find their way to the development line.

iOSBG: Last year Asmodee took over publishing duties on several Playdek titles. Is this going to continue with any of the GMT titles, or will Playdek/GMT be publishing them?

JG: Our publishing deal with Asmodee that covers some of our previously released titles is separate from this business. They are taking those titles forward within their Asmodee Digital group, and we will continue to support those products. Playdek will be publishing the games in this new GMT business.

iOSBG: What’s the first COIN game you’re thinking of porting? C’mon, you can tell me. Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection, right? Right?

JG: No comment right now ?, but it is great to hear what the fans prefer. We have for the most part narrowed it down to two titles, with one coming first and the other following second. But time will tell!

iOSBG: Are we going to see an iPhone version of Twilight Struggle? For that matter, will we see phone version of any of these upcoming titles or is Playdek going to focus more on bigger screens (Steam and tablets)?

JG: Making complex board games work on mobile phone devices is quite a challenge, with the limited screen space available and varying levels of graphics strength. That is an ongoing internal discussion right now, and as we get closer to each product release, we will announce the supported devices for each platform. As for platforms, we plan on supporting PC/Mac via Steam, iOS and Android.

So, there you have it. We can all look forward to a bevy of heavy, strategic titles from GMT to flood the App Store, which is all I've ever really wanted.
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