The Microgaming Poker Network released a brand new online poker client yesterday, marking a sharp change in how it develops its software. The aim is for the software to be more stable, streamlined, and easier to change as the network sees fit. Microgaming has its presence in India too with its Indian Poker Network (IPN), a segregated online poker network that exclusively services the Indian market. The IPN currently has brands like PokerNation, Mercury Poker and PokerYaar on its network with Thrill Poker and Khelplay being the defunct platforms which are no longer part of the network.
Rather than just being called “MPN Client v3.0” or whatever, Microgaming gave the new software a great name, which also adorns the tables: Prima. The name hearkens back to the early days of the network at the very beginning of the poker boom, when it was called the Prima Poker Network or Prima Network. A couple weeks ago, Microgaming’s Head of Product, Alex Scott, previewed the Prima client, explaining the philosophy behind what the company was doing. This is a completely new piece of software, built from the ground up. The very first thing MPN needed to do in this case was, as Scott phrased it, build a strong foundation. He said the old client was built in C++, which has the problem of being complex. This complexity, in turn, makes it difficult for developers to understand each other’s code, which leads to errors. C++, said Scott, also has bugs that newer programming languages don’t. Thus, MPN needed to modernize.
One of the big advantages to re-doing things completely with a modern programming language is that MPN will be able to “develop a feature once, and release it to all supported devices at the same time.” Impressively, it only took the MPN development team six months to build Prima. Part of that speed, though, means that Prima will not be as feature rich now as it will be in the future. This was by design, though. Alex Scott calls the initial release of Prima a Minimal Viable Product (MVP), meaning that it will be just enough to be useful and enjoyable, but without many extra features that could bog things down at the outset (like table chat). As time goes on, MPN will add features and evaluate how they are working. Fortunately, as mentioned, the redesign means that features only need to be built once in order to be rolled out to all platforms.
Right now, Prima has been rolled out to just six of MPN’s skins. The skins can decide initially how they want to handle the new software; they may launch it skin-wide or allow players to use the old software if they would like. MPN would like as many players on the Prima client as possible by the end of the year.
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