AvatarsUnitedI managed to have a chat with Thor Olof, the CEO of Enemy Unknown a while back. Despite being a simple chat between two people, there was a lot of good about the business of online games and decisions they have taken as a company that I thought I’d share with you. Enemy Unknown is the company behind the service Avatars United. Avatars United in turn is a service – let’s put it this way; it’s Facebook for in-game avatars.

Enemy Unknown has taken the slightly different and perhaps not that common approach with their technology. They have adopted the Open Social initiative as part of their technology. Open Social, as you may know – is a single standard of an API that has the bigger idea of making sharing data between sites faster and easier to come by (as developers don’t have to learn propietary APIs from different sites).

Of course, supporting Open Social is no big a deal if you don’t fully take advantage of it. Hence Thor and his team have put a lot of effort into building a platform where one can design custom third party apps, a little like F8 for Facebook. They have even set up a competition to bring in more developers to create more apps for Eve Online.

Going down the Open Social route has also attracted them a lot of publicity. For example, they gained visibility in the Open Social blog and attracted very interesting sponsors for their competition as well. How many of us have managed to score deals with Amazon and Google?

We finished off the chat by talking about the game business in general. Having worked in the industry some years ago, it’s close to heart and always interesting to see what goes on there. For example, one of the bigger trends that is taking place (something other industries should closely follow) is that games are more and more moving into the space of free-to-play, away from the subscription model. The subscription model is immensely popular and generates a lot of revenue for the most successful ones. For example, World of Warcraft started the year with about 12 million subscribers paying monthly fees – you do the math.

Last but definitely not least, Thor and Enemy Unknown are one of the TC50 Demopit presenters this year.