Before digging into the nuts and bolts of Playd, let’s get to know a little about the team behind this new social platform. How many people are building and managing Playd right now, and how far back do your experiences in the videogame industry go, both as consumers and producers of information?
The team right now is me – Anthony Frasier – and my co-founder, Alex Galkin. We have a few reps who will also be helping with social media and various tasks. It’s pretty lean at the moment.
I started getting involved in the game industry when I co-founded TheKoalition.com in 2008. We were grinding it out, going to conferences all over the US to help get our name out there. We landed a few big collaborations, mainly with 50 Cent and his site Thisis50.com, and Xbox Live. Making the switch from being a hardcore game consumer to someone who creates content, I was able to see we can profit from our passion. The sky was the limit for me after realizing this.
I got into doing business development at a start-up called Bubbalon, which Alex was the co-founder of. Shortly after Bubbalon was relieved, we got together and formed the idea for Playd, and got to work.
So let’s hear the lowdown on what the Playd app is, exactly. What will it do for both mobile and console gamers — how will it enhance our gaming lives?
Playd is a check-in app for gamers on “god mode.” Playd goes beyond just you telling people what games you’re playing; we aim to capture the entire experience. So you’re able to actually engage in conversations with people about the games you’re playing. We attached the conversation to Twitter, so you’re also able to engage with people who are not even using the app.
We also give users Tokens for playing certain games, sequences of games, and various activities within the app. These Tokens would be where game publishers and advertisers can sponsor prizes, discounts, and special incentives to you for doing what you would normally do.
We constantly hear gamers complain about online codes in games, as well as publishers complain about the used game losses they receive. So we become a platform where we can eliminate the need for used games, because users feel rewarded for buying a game. We have partnerships coming where a game publisher will actually reward users with special incentives for buying a game on day one. Our in-app scanner makes it all possible.
The concept sounds especially exciting to me, as someone who witnesses a lot of great iOS games getting lost in this huge ocean of titles that are constantly hitting the App Store. Will Playd cover iOS’ App Store, the Android Market, and other mobile platforms out-of-the-box, or will you be focusing on the big consoles at first and gradually expanding from there?
The focus is on the big consoles first. We are already in talks with a few mobile game networks about collaborating and offering their libraries of games up for Playd users to discover and engage around. I hope to make those announcements soon.
Let’s get some info on what the Playd user experience will look like. Let’s say I’ve got the Playd app and I want to give a shout-out to a really awesome game I just found. Walk me through this – I’d probably start out by firing up Playd, logging in, searching a database for the game’s name, and then, what all can I do once I’ve found it? And how does all this help the game get a little more of the exposure it deserves?
People are giving these shout-outs as we speak right now. But the problem is, they’re lost in a sea of white noise. Playd controls the conversation. If you want to shout out a game you just found, you can go to the Channels tab and search for the game. Once you found that game, you can easily start a conversation around it. If it’s a rare or new game there might not be much engagement, but users in Playd will discover these games in the activity feed regardless.
Another cool feature is, once you have already checked into a game it shows up in the Channels tab automatically, so you won’t have to go searching for it a second time.
How do all the games get entered into the Playd system? Do you guys have little gnome helpers who try to keep up with all the releases, or are the game entries user-generated? In that case, what kind of technical wizardry do you have to work to keep duplicate game entries from appearing, and chaos from breaking out on the Playd network?
We are still ironing out the kinks in the system now. There are a few duplicate entries reported and we address those quickly. We are currently hooked into a special database where games are stored and it’s added to every day. But connecting to networks such as Xbox Live and PSN has helped speed things up. Early users are giving us great feedback and reporting issues they are having all the time. The passionate community is making Playd better each day.
What’s this I hear about prizes? Can game developers get in on this?
Yes. Game developers and advertisers can form a contest with us and help design a Token to give out to users. What games you play or activities you perform to earn that Token are completely up to the developer or advertiser. It’s a fun way of engaging with your audience.
Finally, does the team have a launch date in mind yet?
We are looking to officially launch in early December. But if you want to help beta test and be a part of our great community of early adopters, feel free to download from the iTunes App Store today. Be sure to send all feedback and issues to [email protected].
Our thanks goes to Anthony Frasier for taking the time out to answer our questions about the Playd app. Judging from the version currently on the App Store, Playd will support the PlayStation Network, Xbox360, and Steam when it launches. We’ll definitely let you know in a news roundup once iOS has been added to the list of supported platforms! In the meantime, check out Playd.itand the Playd Twitter feed for the latest news on this new social gaming platform!