Last Minute to Travelocity, Alexis Bonte developed an obsession with Sid Meier's strategy game Civilization. Bonte played so often, that his wife began to complain. He jokes that he partnered with George Lemnaru to started eRepublik Labs and the eRepublik game in order to satiate his gaming appetite through work. The company officially launched in time to win the 2007 Le Web awards.After selling
eRepublik is a multi-player online strategy game where members interact as citizens of one of 60 countries. More than 125,000 active users sign in on a daily basis to work, join the military, form political parties, launch newspapers and in some cases, wage wars. Just last week the Iranian president was impeached. Meanwhile, last month Russia was invaded and Indonesian users hosted the game's largest real-world meet up.
At the business level, the company raised a 2 million Euro round of funding. The new capital will help its 30 employees improve game play and expand into new arenas.
In the near future Bonte plans on launching citizen ads. He explains, "We have 100 million impressions per month, but if you're in a virtual world you don't want to see adverts for Coca Cola." Bonte plans on allowing citizens to use eRepublik currency (gold) to pay to advertise for their political parties or businesses.
"Every month we have an election." He says, "Imagine you're running the democratic party for your country, you're going to use some of your gold to advertise to win the election."
While the gold can be earned during gameplay or bought with real money, buying gold is restricted to certain times and amounts. This is to ensure that eRepublik remains a strategy game rather than a shopping experience.
"Once we develop the product further," says Bonte, "We can expand into new territory as a platform for new gaming experiences." Similar to competitor Gameforge, eRepublik Labs expects to roll out additional MMORPGs in the future. ReadWriteWeb was there in Madrid to talk to Bonte about his company.