The long awaited launch of the new PartyPoker software is finally here. It promised to incorporate ‘a new and unique player experience by introducing missions and achievements’ as well as innovative new social features. It’s certainly a very bold step forward, but will it succeed in making poker a more fun game to play? Will it ultimately drive PartyPoker into a new era of success? That remains to be seen.
Best to start with a screenshot of the new lobby. It’s clean & extremely easy to navigate – Clearly, user-experience was a massive priority.
As is evident from the navigation tabs within the lobby, Party have introduced a number of new features to the software. The ultimate aim of their new software is clearly to get players interacting and participating with each other much like they would any regular online game. That ‘interaction’ factor is certainly something which online poker has lacked over the years (obviously, integrating chat boxes into the tables doesn’t quite cut it) and Party have tried to solve this issue, specifically by introducing a number of new key features to the client which include:
1) Missions – Users can play through missions and earn real rewards in the form of status points, cash and tournament tickets. A very basic example would be completing a certain number of Sit N Go’s, and although I couldn’t fully explore the software at this early stage (Launch Pains), I’m sure Party will have some creative mission ideas in mind.
2) Achievements – Much like XBOX Live, players can win achievement badges for achieving certain feats – E.G. Hitting a royal flush or being on the receiving end of a bad beat.
3) Friends & Challenges – Users will be able to add friends, post statuses (like Facebook) and challenge other users (to competitions and of course match-ups). It’s still unclear whether users will be able to share hands with their friends through the software.
I feel like they’ve balanced the social and poker elements well (in large part due to the intuitive lobby design) – The social elements certainly aren’t forced upon any player, but I must say they’re very enticing. There’s a strong ‘gamer’ feel to the new product – reminiscent to XBOX & Playstation live with the achievements, missions features and friend challenges.
The table view looks solid – Although I was surprised to see that the new social features weren’t more strongly advertised or encouraged within the table view. Overall no complaints – The design is solid and sharp, albeit quite simplistic! This efficient simplicity echoes throughout the new re-brand and software launch – Party want to make the game fun, exciting and social, but they’ve certainly not opted for any fancy bells and whistles when it comes to the design. I believe this is because they want to maintain the integrity of the game as something that is fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled and challenging. – It certainly feels different to the likes of Facebook Zynga Poker in that sense.
Overall, PartyPoker have done a solid job with the new software – It’s clean, very fast, easy to navigate, and the new features are fun and exciting.
Perhaps operators and software platforms will begin to take interest. This launch proves that online poker as a product is moving to a new age with increasing levels of innovation – Whether this particular innovation has a profound effect on the PartyPoker business and the poker industry as a whole remains to be seen!
Note: Not all features could be fully explored at the time of writing this article since the software had some technical issues due to launching.