Simutronics Goes Globe-al

After being ousted by America Online, Simutronics, moves on to build a new gaming community on the Globe

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It wasn't too long ago that America Online bid farewell to Simutronics (the company behind online multiplayer games Gemstone III, DragonRealm, CyberStrike, and Modus Operandi). Simutronics struck out on its own on the Web in July, when AOL moved to its pay-to-play pricing model, but it hasn't taken the company long to hook up with another online community. Granted, the Globe, a virtual community founded in 1994 by Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman while they both were at Cornell University, boasts a mere 670,000 members, as opposed to AOL's millions of subscribers. (Simutronics hasn't released numbers for its subscribers since leaving AOL but says that its games are generating 2 million hours' worth of traffic a month.) But both companies saw a strategic partnership with the other as a way to "leverage their existing membership base and subscription services to attract users to the other's site."

"(Simutronics) has begun to pursue alliances with other sites that have similar interests to ours," said Melissa Whatley, Simutronics' marketing communications director. "The Globe was a good fit because it will be creating chat and message board areas about our games. It's setting up a whole community based on Simutronics games."

Simutronics games will form the backbone for some of the Globe's microcommunities. Paternot and Krizelman will create chat areas for each game and help players build game-oriented home pages.

But Whatley admits that perhaps the primary benefit of Simutronics' alliance with the Globe will be 670,000 potential eyes pointed in her company's direction.

"We look at this primarily as a co-marketing deal," she said.

Since leaving AOL, Simutronics has moved to a subscription model of its own. Players can participate in Modus Operandi, DragonRealm, or GemStone III (the service's role-playing games) for $9.95 a month. Simutronics' action game CyberStrike (for which Whatley promises a face-lift come early '98) can be subscribed to for $8.95 a month.

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