Massively multi-player online games were once a stationary, sedentary act. Players would sit at a computer and interact with each other over the bitsphere and activity was limited to the big screen. Not anymore.
I asked Darren Pye, CEO of Going AFK (an Ottawa, Canada company), to come on to UNTETHER.tv to talk about the launch of their new mobile MMO game, Spy Am I. The game uses real-life locations to complete virtual tasks and could be an incredible opportunity for companies to build their brand in this virtual spy caper (discussed in detail).
We dig deep into the development of the game, the gap this fills, the reason it was built, the opportunities for companies who use it, the challenges of engaging (and re-engaging) players, where the revenue will come from, the impact viral games such as Spy Am I are and will continue to have as well as a discussion on the game layer as a platform aspect of what Darren and his team are doing with Spy Am I.
Listen to the audio version now: [audio:http://blip.tv/file/get/Untether-spyami987.mp3]
About Darren Pye
Darren Pye is one of that fortunate first generation of kids who grew up with video games and computers. At age 11, after much begging and pleading, his parents bought him his first computer. Three months later he had taught himself to program and won a regional science fair with his program ‘The Computer Guide to the Solar System’. He hasn’t stopped since.
Darren joined Harris Computer Systems in 2002 where he was given the budget and opportunity to redesign their core product and hire the team to build it, which he did. While at Harris, he held the roles of Senior Architect and Director of R&D. In May of 2010, with nothing but an idea, contagious passion and two amazing partners, Andrea Ghent and Aaron Sadhankar, he left Harris to form Going AFK Games. By September of 2010 they had raised enough Angel investment to fund the first version of their product.
Spy Am I, Going AFK’s first game, is the front end to a sophisticated location based gaming platform. Using game mechanics found in Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMO’s), players progress in the game as they defeat enemies and do multi-step missions, but at real world places near them.
Spy Am I offers an immersive experience and innovates in the LBS space by allowing players to take locations home and share them with friends. Players can ‘place mark’ any venue in the game and then visit that location virtually from home to continue working on their missions and earning rewards. The result for businesses is more brand-time with their customers and unprecedented opportunities to drive return foot-traffic. All future games built on the AFK platform will have this rare mix of fun for players and value for businesses.
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