An Interview with Asmodee Digital about Ticket to RideJun 28, 2018 | 1 Votes by Mikhail 10 rate We are fortunate enough to have a virtual sit-down with the leaders of Asmodee Digital, the world's leading digital board game publisher, to discuss more about Ticket to Ride on PS4; where digital and physical board games are going; and what the company has in the pipeline for the future.
Earlier this month, Asmodee Digital made the exciting announcement that they will be bringing popular digital board game, Ticket to Ride, to the Playstation 4 consoles via PlayLink. This comes within months of releasing Catan on the virtual reality platforms, Oculus Rift and Gear VR, and more recently, the planned launch of Carcassonne on Nintendo Switch at the end of this year.
As such, we are fortunate enough to have set up an email interview with the leaders of Asmodee Digital, Pierre Ortolan (CEO) and Philippe Dao (CMO) to discuss more about their latest Ticket to Ride announcement, to pick their brains on the direction digital and physical board games are going, as well as to help you all get an idea on what Asmodee Digital has in store for the future.
Q1: Ticket to Ride is an outstanding, award-winning board game. How excited are you and your team to bring it to PS4 PlayLink?
It is definitely a milestone for Asmodee Digital strategy! Expanding a classic board game like Ticket to Ride to PlayLink for PS4 is an opportunity to reach a broader audience and expose our games to new categories of players. Our objective is to make the best adaptation of Ticket to Ride for the Playlink and bring a complementary experience to the PS4 players who know Ticket to Ride through the analog game, the mobile or the PC version.
Q2: What are some of the biggest challenges of bringing a board game like Ticket to Ride to a digital platform?
There is a lot of technical challenges:
• Develop sustainable game engines, based on free software and open standards, and maintained with continuous integration and automatic testing
• This allows us to focus on the handling of new controllers, and refactoring the user interface for a new platform, without breaking anything on the existing ones.
• How to manage multiplayers
• And it is a new market to address so we had to make our marketing department evolve this way as well.
Q3: Will Ticket to Ride support cross-platform play?
The complete features list will be announced at a later stage
Q4: From Catan VR to Carcassonne to Ticket to Ride, it is obvious that Asmodee Digital intends to create digital board games that provide shared and inclusive gaming experiences for every gamer regardless of which platform they prefer.
Due to this, is it safe for us to say that you are considering bringing Ticket to Ride to the virtual reality platform, as well as launching other digital board games your company has released so far to PS4 via PlayLink or Nintendo Switch?
Interesting deduction! Nothing planned for the moment regarding TTR on VR platforms but indeed, our strategy is to offer various and complementary experiences of best board game IPs and to reach broader audiences.
Q5: Apart from the PlayStation 4, are there any plans to bring your future projects to other semi-digital platforms, such as the potentially revolutionary, tabletop video game console, PlayTable?
For sure, we study all new platforms but we can’t speak to any future release for the moment. It is too early. We can just confirm we have further announcement in the pipeline. Stay tuned!
Q6: What do you think will be the future of systems (like PlayLink) wherein a console and another device link up to let multiple players experience games together? What will this mean for Asmodee Digital?
For any board game with hidden information such as Ticket To Ride or Catan, the Playlink feature and any similar setting will facilitate the adaptation from a game design standpoint and reassure the players since we will be able to keep the original mechanic and rules of the game and not “revolutionizing” the whole game concept. It means more opportunities to adapt modern board games to consoles. Let’s note this form of link up is also available on other consoles such as Xbox One and Switch.
Q7: Where do you see physical board games in the future? Will people continue to patronize them or is a complete shift to the digital platform inevitable?
There is a virtuous circle when adapting a board game for digital. Digital games and physical games are related but distinct in many key ways. Overall, we don’t see the two genres as competing. Recently, one of the most exciting developments we saw after announcing The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game was a resurgence in interest in the tabletop game. We’ve seen new players connect with seasoned veterans online and in game stores, and it’s wonderful to watch those communities grow.
Furthermore, longtime The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game players have started migrating over to digital platforms to prepare for the game’s release. We’re already seeing convergence and crossover between the games and their communities. A few years ago, when Ticket to Ride was launched on mobile we observed a similar increase on the sales of the physical games. That’s is the reason why we believe in phygital (physical and digital) and cross-promoting from physical to digital and vice versa.
Q8: What other exciting projects does Asmodee Digital have in store for their fans? Could you provide us with a sneak peek?
We have great games in our roadmap coming soon like Terraforming Mars but also Fighting Fantasy Legends Portal which promises to become a gateway for future developments of the famous interactive gamebooks by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. Fighting Fantasy Legends Portal will be coming to Steam, iOS, and Android later this summer. For the rest, you will have to be patient. We will have major announcements during Gen Con and will give you an update regarding games already announced like Mansions of Madness or Munchkin.
Thank you for the interview opportunity and for answering the questions!