Interview With Matt Stones – Creator Of AruaRose Game
Matt Stones has created a very popular FREE to Play MMORPG which has over 300,000 players! With a unique way of monetization and some great tips, this interview is well worth reading!
First off – can we have a little background information on Matt – Where you live? How old you are? What motivates you? What inspires you?
My name is Matt, aged 19, and living in the UK (Midlands to be precise).
The thing that has always motivated me is having the opportunity to give people a free service, and seeing them enjoy it. This can range from basic things such as running a website and seeing it being visited, to running a world-wide game enjoyed by thousands daily.
One thing that inspire me is Richard Branson. He proved that it doesn’t take degrees or qualifications to become successful. I’m never good when it comes to exams or such, so I’ve always looked up to him.
I understand that you have over 200,000 people playing Aruarose all in under a year, what obstacles have you been faced with growing such a large userbase.
Accommodating all the users. We currently span across eight servers and I’m having to look into expanding further. Of course, having so many users and servers comes with financial costs, so maintaining income is a must. Like with any large communnity, you’re bound to pick up people who hold grudges against your services for various reasons, and it’s safe to say we’ve had our fair share. We’ve had attacks such as HTTP flooding and DDoS attacks thrown at us, so ensuring that our servers are online all the time and well protected took some time in all honesty.
What have you done to make yourself stand out from other MMORPG games like Runescape, World of Warcraft and Kal Online.
I think the game stands out for itself. I’ve seen the reaction of users on new (and old) MMORPG games and the general reaction is that it looks the same as another; this is something where ROSE Online stands out. The game play is also unique. One key feature is that you can build your character how you want, and not how we want; so the chances of having an identical build to another player wouuld be extremely rare. This is another key thing we push for: diversity. What’s the fun in having an MMORPG where every player looks the same?
How does someone earn money from a Free-to-Play game, I understand that you accept donations inexchange for in game items, is this a monetizing option you hope to explore further or could you see adverts coming to the website some time soon?
Many free-to-play games set up “Item Malls” on their websites whereby players can buy points and spend them. Although the server should be free, having it this way means that a player will possibly buy points one or two times. We, for example, have it set up so players are given random in-game items – so players don’t know what items they will be getting. Having it this way means that if a player doesn’t get an item they want, they’ll probably donate again, and this helps keep our service free.
Who is your target audience and why should they be playing Aruarose?
This is a hard subject, mainly because of the wide audience we actually have. We have people as young as 8 or people as old as 45. I think the main target audience would be young teenagers who enjoy gaming and anime (I say this because the graphics take an anime style). They should be playing because it is such an enjoyable game, and I can’t stress that enough. That, and it’s free!
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself as a blogger, what advice would you give yourself?
I’ve always been a webmaster rather than a blogger, but if I could give myself some advice, it’d be “stick with it”. Everything has its ups and downs, and just because it’s on a down now doesn’t mean it won’t change in the future.
Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on? (You can name more than one)
As I mentioned above, there’s only really one person: Richard Branson. He left school with no qualifications and started up a small business and became one heck of a guy. If he can do it, why can’t others?
Do you have any favourite business related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
Strangely enough, I don’t read books, sorry!
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
“Go for it”. You’ve probably heard it many times before or even said it as a joke to a friend, but it’s the best advice I’ve ever been given. That, and “don’t give up”.
What advice would you give to a Young Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
– Don’t over predict, and don’t try things which you know aren’t possible
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help
– Do your research!
Most importantly, “go for it and don’t give up”.
If the Internet had not existed – what do you think you would be doing?
I’d probably be bored out of my brains. The Internet has given me the opportunity to do things I could have never done or attempted to do.
What do you like best about the Internet?
I like the Internet on a whole. Users have access to everything and anything they want at a click of a button. Things like e-mail have revolutionised the way we live and work. We, as consumers, have access to things we could have never have had if it wasn’t for the Internet.
What do you like least about the Internet?
I’ve never really liked how easy it is to “attack” someone, albeit not physical. People hide behind their anonymous proxies and aliases.
Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
I plan on setting up another business (or rather expand on the current one) later this year. The web development part of it has already begun work and it’s going to take some time to complete. My goal will be to complete it and see that it can be as successful as can be.