Thursday, March 1, 2012

Z2Live - Who Are They?

We all know that Z2Live is the creator of MSWM, but how much do you really know about Z2?  I was curious and also needed something to take my mind off of all the love directed my way in the past 24 hours! 

First of all, I will throw out the disclaimer – I don’t work for Z2 and have no affiliation.  I want to start by saying that they really do deserves props and accolades for what they have done.   Despite the lag, despite the new expensive planes, despite the spamming Bisno,  despite all the issues, they really have created a great game.
It wouldn’t hurt to take a moment, step back and appreciate it.  After all, the game is free.   The term that the industry is using now is “FREEMIUM” where you get the game for free but then are slowly coerced to spend money the deeper you advance into the game (kind of like the drug dealer giving the first few pieces of crack cocaine for free to the future addict until he is hooked). The good thing about MSWM is that (at least for now) you really can play this game for free - the only thing that is really worth spending is the plane upgrades in my opinion.

As for the costs of weapons and upgrades - I know that this is offensive to many of you, but would you really rather pay $50 or so up front for an old style boxed software game?  Much fewer people would buy the game and you have a much smaller field to play against.  Don’t be shocked that Z2 is going to keep releasing better planes to make you want to spend more coins or even better missiles at some point (my prediction).  They are in a business.  They want to keep you happy but they also want your money in order to continue staying in business and growing.  As for the aces and experts out there – I have a feeling that Z2 see’s you more as an irritant in most cases.  Most players will never get to a skill level of 15,000, 20,000, 100,000 (sheesh)…  You are the elite 1% and from what I can see, most of you don’t spend much money on the game (most of you are so good, you don’t need to).  Translate:  you are not Z2’s favorite or target audience – you’re too experienced and crafty.  Z2 is going to focus on the new players and getting them hooked fast before they lose interest.  They are not going to worry so much about the top 1% (my opinion).  You’re just not where the money is.

Below are some quick facts and news on Z2 that I was able to find on the web:

Company started in 2009 by a Microsoft veteran.  
News Flash:  Just in the past week, Z2 has acquired a small gaming company in Vancouver by the name of Big Sandwich Games.  Click here for more info. 

Big Sandwich Games makes a variety of games for not only Apple platforms, but playstation, wii,  Xbox… The Iphone/Ipad games that they make are Timefold, Sugar Buzz and Fusion Island (never heard of any of them).  They  do make a ground soldier based combat sim for the platforms named “SOCOM Confrontation” and “Army of Two”  - maybe they plan to utilize some of this expertise into more sim games or enhance MSWM?

Z2Live has grown from 16 employees a year ago to 80 now, not counting the 9 employees from last week’s acquisition – pretty impressive in today’s economic environment.

Trade Nations was their first game – set records on participation/revenue (must be pretty addicting, I guess)

Z2 appears to be growing, profiting, and adding employees, which is a GOOD thing.  The opposite would be that they would be shrinking, not making money and MSWM would go away – shocking as it may be to imagine, companies go out of business every day and games go away every day.    MSWM is not as high in the App Store rankings as it once was.  Checked today and MSWM is no longer in the top 100 popular apps.  However, it is ranked #63 in the list of Top Grossing Apps - there are ALOT of people buying Bisnos out there I guess. Their other game, Battle Nations is ranked @#16 in Top Grossing Apps.  That one must REALLY be addicting.   All this may seem offensive to some, but remember, the more money they make, the more they can hire programmers to enhance the game and make it better.  If the opposite happens and it starts losing money, guess what happens?

Z2 on Social Responsibility:  This one is interesting.  Found this on their website:  “Z2Live is committed to becoming the most important force in mobile gaming. This includes calling on the entire game industry to translate the collective hours and efforts of our gamers into making a positive change in the world.”    Gee, and I thought I was having a bit of diversionary fun blowing up my opponent – well, I guess blowing up an opponent IS making a positive change in my world

Z2Live also makes two other games: Battle Nations and Trade Nations (not counting recent acquisition).  These are VERY different games from MSWM.  So different, that it is a curious mix to have such a realistic fighter sim game and then have these 2 other cartoonish strategy games.   Battle Nations is a cartoonish turn based combat game and Trade Nations is a social, trade, resource building type game.  Both of these games appear to have a loyal and profitable following.  Not sure where MSWM ranks as far as their game profits – curious if any readers know the answer to that?  Developing the real-time graphics and performance of MSWM must have been a pretty big shock compared to the other 2 games, thus the need for them to recruit a new hot shot programmer:

In case you didn’t know it, you can probably thank a 17 year old whiz kid who dropped out of school to make Apps in his bedroom for the quality of game play that you enjoy on MSWM.  Click here for article.

Lastly, in case you are interested, Z2 is hiring.  Click here for link

My favorite opening is the “Play Tester”:  Here is the job description: 

Z2Live is looking for play testers interested in providing their valuable feedback during our focus groups. We’re specifically looking for male gamers, who own either an iPhone (or other iDevice), or an Android device on which they play games. Each focus group will take place at our offices in downtown Seattle, lasting approximately 1-2 hours. This is an hourly, paid role; at each session, you will be provided with snacks and refreshments.



  1. Thanks for the link :

    LOL i just just finished writing a reply to the email address at the provided link when I noticed that this focus group play testing sessions would be held in Seattle, :-D ( that's about 8037 miles from my location - I think if I used the FA-119 Reaper - it should take approx 2.5 hours - LOL.

  2. Just another message from me again sir : I made a small donation through the paypal button here at your site : ref no : 08704303RP391820F

    May I please contact you through the email address that i received in my paypal confirmation note sir ?  

    I respect and understand your privacy as a blogger which is the reason why I am not referring to you by name.

    Best Regards.

    P.S. -  I hope that other readers who really want to contact you take this as a hint and understand that "bloggers" are human beings and they  also need to earn from their work. 

  3. The FA-119 reaper does not go at 4000 miles an hour-it goes at 4000. I don't know what units of speed MSWM uses. 700 (speed) seems like 20 mph. 3000 seems like 150 mph.

    I have always dreamed of being a play tester. I might be a bit far away from Seattle though seeing I live on the other side of the pacific.

    1. I think the unit of speed is in km/h, so 4000 = 4000km/h. I think it really makes sense in km/h.

    2. It is possible, it would be Mac 4 plane, but for a 1960 year plane it is a bit impossible. For other planes which are newer it would be possible.

    3. if you fly alongside the battleships in the mission 4 canyon with the airbrakes on then they are faster. I don't know any battleships that go at about 400km/h

  4. This is quite true. I rant about Z2 sometimes, but I have to admit that it's nice that this game is free. Bravo, Z2.

    1. You know what? I take that back. The game is not free at all, and it really sucks a lot.
      End of story.

    2. Wow, change of opinion!

  5. They are slackers who wouldn't fix bugs that what they are.