Playfish Preparing to Launch Poker Rivals, Its Newest Facebook Game

By Christopher Mack Add Comment » Share

Poker Rivals Logo

Fresh off its up-to-$400-million purchase by Electronic Arts, Playfish is getting ready to roll out a Facebook poker game, called Poker Rivals.

Lots of people love to play poker online, and Zynga’s Texas Hold’Em Poker has shown they’re willing to do it on Facebook without actual cash involved. Just a few weeks ago, that game still held the #7 spot in this month’s Top 25 Facebook Games with nearly 19 million monthly active users, many months after it first launched.

Here’s what the app’s Page says:

Poker Rivals

Playfish have gone all in with Poker Rivals to take Texas Hold ‘Em Poker to a whole new level. Whether you’re a newcomer to Hold ‘Em or you’re an old hand, you’ll feel instantly at home in the ultimate poker experience. Hit the tables with your friends or try your hand in a tournament, then show everyone you’ve got the right stuff by buying new clothes, accessories, even a whole new apartment with your winnings. You can even buy your own private yacht, but that’s for the real high rollers only.

Veterans can hit the tables right away while beginners can choose to clue up in the Poker Rivals tutorial — don’t worry if you’ve never played a hand of poker, it’ll teach you everything you need to know. Have you got what it takes for Poker Rivals?

The game looks great, despite the fact that it is still in beta, and not actually intended for mass distribution yet. Players don a virtual version of themselves and play poker, leveling up as they win. While more features will likely be added before Playfish starts promoting the game, Poker Rivals already has some solid new ones that we haven’t seen in other social poker games. One is a way for players to purchase items using their winnings and decorate their avatars. Another is the ability to animate their characters in the game — so you can wave your avatar’s arms if you’re not happy about the cards you were dealt, for example.

Bigger picture, it’s also notable that Zynga has been going after some of Playfish’s game portfolio, launching Café World to compete against Restaurant City, and possibly planning PetVille (more here) to go against Pet Society. So, it’s easy to interpret Poker Rivals as a shot back at Zynga — but now with the resources of EA to back Playfish up.

To dig deeper into the virtual goods market, check out our new report: Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2009 – 2010.

this looks awesome...

this is the part i like the most... Hit the tables with your friends or try your hand in a tournament, then show everyone you’ve got the right stuff by buying new clothes, accessories, even a whole new apartment with your winnings. You can even buy your own private yacht, but that’s for the real high rollers only.