Mobile games must really be getting big when even the airlines are making them now!

I have a confession to make: I’ve never flown on an airplane before. I’m not really sure why, either. I guess I just never really had anywhere too far off that I needed to be. But now I’m finally starting to see just how cool flying and airlines really are: and it’s all thanks to an upcoming airport simulation game by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines called Aviation Empire.

In KLM’s official press event this morning, Pieter Elbers, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines led a presentation all about Aviation Empire, where viewers and potential gamers alike could get the very first glimpse of how this ambitious new game plans to explore 94 years of KLM history, while providing some real-world integrations and amusing casual gameplay as well.

Positioned as more than just a mere social game, KLM is already gearing up Aviation Empire for the long run, as the experience will appeal to all airline customers, potential flyers, and of course, gamers. While the game is said to be free-to-play, there will also be social loyalty systems and in-app purchases to be found within as well. However, KLM wants Aviation Empire to be just as much a game for the community as it is a game for their company: so much so, that the title of the game was even selected through an online Facebook poll. Working with game developer Little Chicken to bring their vision to life, KLM had to learn the ways of the gaming industry, and learn them pretty fast.

But perhaps one of the coolest features outlined about the game so far is the seamless integration between online and offline components, where frequent fliers will actually be able to unlock specific destinations based on their current locations to real-world KLM airports, allowing them to progress faster in the game than others.

Aviation Empire

While this steady influx of information was certainly all well and good, the heart of the presentation really came when we got to see Aviation Empire in action, and boy is this one looking good already! The heart of the game revolves around a really slick-looking 3D globe of the world, which players can spin and zoom in to their liking to get a closer look at their various KLM airport locations. This feature is especially important, because it enables players to have a global view of how they are doing in the game. At each specific location, players will be able to purchase and construct new airports, planes, and runways, and the graphics are at all times beautiful: with a perfect mix of realism and cartoony aspects.

Based on my first impressions of everything I’ve seen today, I’d say that Aviation Empire is shaping up to be an incredibly realistic and full-fledged take on simpler airport simulation games like the casual Airport Mania series: only with some really neat and helpful real-world applicable features. While no specific release date was given during the presentation, we do know that the free-to-play Aviation Empire will be taking off on both iOS and Android platforms.