Browser game specialist Kongregate is preparing to launch a PC gaming platform called Kartridge which, it hopes, will become a direct competitor to Steam.
Kongregate’s Janet Ebsen announced the platform on the company’s website, saying: “We are expanding into the world of downloadable and premium games! The new platform is called Kartridge. We’re taking everything we have learned from nearly 12 years of Kongregate.com and doubling down on all the stuff that works best.”
According to Ebsen, Kartridge’s key elements will be “Chat, achievements and levelling, easy uploads and supporting developers.” She explained: “You’ll be able to get other players’ input while browsing and hear opinions about what’s good, then continue the conversation once you start playing. For Kartridge, we’re going to develop a richer and more meaningful way to reward play while keeping the core of what makes our badges fun. We’ll use our background as a publisher, combined with our experience on the website, to actively help developers promote their games and find an appreciative audience.”
Kongregate is adamant that Kartridge will happily coexist with its existing offering: “Kartridge is not a replacement for Kongregate.com. Kongregate.com is healthy and doing well! We decided to build Kartridge because, as browser support for Flash and Unity Webplayer declined, we saw a lot of web developers move to making downloadable games. The Kongregate mission statement is: “To nurture the growth and health of independent game developers and player communities,” so we wanted to expand our community focus and developer advocacy to include even more parts of the gaming world.”
Another aspect of Kartridge which Kongregate is keen to emphasise is its community focus. Ebsen said: “Our goal is to create a deeply social ecosystem around games and gaming. Our intention is to create a new community, giving it the opportunity to emerge naturally without the expectation that it will be exactly the same as the website community. As the Kartridge community begins to grow and flourish, Kartridge chat and Kongregate.com chat will be separate. One’s Kartridge level will be entirely separate from one’s Kongregate.com level; even if you’re level 75 on the website, you’ll begin at level 1 on Kartridge.”
Kongregate hasn’t yet set a date for when Kartridge will go live, but it already exists in beta form, for which you can sign up here. We’ll keep you posted with any emerging developments.