POANG, a new Fantasy Football App that was released earlier this week, is out to make a splash in the UK games market
While Fantasy Football Portal tend to focus mainly on daily and traditional season-long fantasy football products, every now and then a new game comes along that catches our attention. POANG is certainly one of them so we caught up with Steve Zammit Briffa, their COO and Co-Founder, to find out a bit more about their plans for this exciting new concept.
Hi Steve. Can you tell us a bit about what POANG (Founded by Steve Zammit Briffa, Luca Amato and Patrick Camilleri – all from Malta) is and why you think it will be a success?
POANG Fantasy Football is the first game to be developed by game studio POANG. We have been working very hard to provide something different to the world of fantasy sports. The end result was a game that mixed two concepts that are successful on their own, but till now have never been combined. On one hand you have football manager games which put you in charge of the team and the business, however data is simulated here (meaning the matches are not real and your players’ performance are controlled by a computer algorithm.) Then you have fantasy football which simply allows you to select a team and gain points according to their real life performance. We thought blending the two concepts would be interesting, and so far have received some great feedback!
Some games such as Farmville that use ‘coins’ have enjoyed phenomenal success on Facebook. Do you see Facebook as your primary audience?
We definitely included many social features in the game because that is how games usually grow. The bigger a game grows, the better it is for the user as everyone becomes more competitive. In our game, POANG Dollars are used for buying players, while Coins are used to buy the more expensive players as well as to upgrade facilities such as the Medical Team, Scouting Team etc. This split-currency model is an integral part of the game as you need to use your head to see which currency you need more of at any given time to get the most points. Some users would need more cash and some users would need more coins, so it is quite a strategic game.
You allow managers to select players from the major European leagues and this is a strategy that Oulala Games, a daily fantasy football operator based here in Malta implemented. Do you see this as a risk, bearing in mind that you intend to target a UK market that is so accustomed to the Premier League?
We look at this feature as a bonus rather than a risk. If a user would like to focus on choosing a team solely from the English Premier League they can do so, we do not have any limitations. When making POANG FF, we never intended for it to replace the big official fantasy football leagues, but rather want it to be an additional side game that users can play for fun. A big advantage with our game is that users can join the game at any point throughout the season without being at a disadvantage – since we count the highest score of any head-to-head challenge. We are not trying to compete with the official leagues, as we know how seriously some users take these. Our game is a gamier take on fantasy football. It should also be noted that we are not a daily fantasy football game, but rather a season-long one. We want users to grow their team and club generally over the course of the football season, and our game is designed with this in mind.
Fantasy football managers are familiar with the player selection process but what tips can you give them which may help them to navigate some of the ‘Shop’ features of your game?
Good question. So there are many familiar features in the game that fantasy football users will recognize but then there are added features that would probably be more familiar to users used to football manager. For example, we allow multiple transfers per round. The idea is to constantly update your team so as to get the most points. Selling a player and buying him back when he is playing next is not an uncommon strategy. To get more transfers per round you would need to upgrade your Scouting Team from the map or using the Shop feature. We also allow substitution to take place in an open head-to-head challenge while a match is taking place! Has a player been substituted in real life? No problem, substitute him with another player live! You also have a limited number of head-to-head challenges per round. There are loads of ways to increase these. Either upgrade your medical team from the map, invite 5 Facebook friends to the game, go to the Shop or simply wait till the round countdown timer ends.
And finally, do you intend to focus all of your resources on POANG or are there more games in the pipeline?
At the moment we are still a small team so all our attention is being devoted to POANG Fantasy Football (Europe). That being said we have already started looking into localizing our concept to other territories e.g. Asia, Africa. There is even the possibility of applying our concept to other team sports. However, to answer your question we shall be focusing on Fantasy Football or Fantasy Sports for the time being before moving into anything too different.
Feel free to check out the video below if you want to find out more about POANG.