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Scvngr's Hunt: Retailers Who See Dollars in Game Dynamics


The Cambridge, MA, headquarters of the game company SCVNGR (pron. scavenger) is a hand-me-down from the French phone company Orange—a lavish custom-built affair with bamboo gardens and a "war room" equipped with moving walls. This is also where Google's Android platform was later conceived. Now the workspace belongs to Seth Priebatsch, the 21-year-old "chief ninja" of SCVNGR, a startup that aims "to build a game layer on top of the world." The hyperkinetic entrepreneur informs me that people can get points in a SCVNGR game by climbing onto the roof of the building and leaping over the bamboo canes. He's done it.

Amidst such silliness, Priebatsch hopes he's found a business model that will finally unleash the marketing power of the smart phones that hundreds of millions of people now carry everywhere. If you download the company's app, available for both iPhone and Android, you'll see a whole list of such dares, ranging from difficult athleticism to more modest stunts—like making an origami figure out of a tinfoil burrito wrapper.

"There is real value to engaging with a place—to playing with a place and having fun, to building a type of experience that you can't get with any other type of social media," says Priebatsch, who founded SCVNGR while he was a freshman at Princeton.

From Technology Review
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