Location Based Gaming
Recently i’ve been very interested in the rise of location based games, made possible by advancing mobile technology, specifically GPS, to make these games the next “Big Thing”.
Here i’ve decided to give you the lowdown on what its all about:
There a number of companies in this space but leading the pack are two, Gowalla and Foursquare! Both are very similar but each have their pro’s and con’s which is not something I will be going into now but check out this article from Mashable.com which will give you a good comparison.
The aim of Foursquare and Gowalla is to ‘Check In’ to locations when you’re out and about, as you do this you receive stamps, and the more you ‘Check In’ you can achieve different objectives and be awarded Pins for Gowalla & Badges with Foursquare. For example - In Foursquare if you visit 3 bars in one night you gain the “bender” bags… wicked!!!
The main difference between the two is: in Gowalla you can pick up and drop items, see their history, where they have been and who has had them. In Foursquare if you visite a location more often than anyone else, you become the “Mayor” of said location. Also Foursquare allows you to create to-do’s for that location that friends can see. (E.g. In a restaurant you could recommend what to eat).
Interestingly, businesses where these apps are popular take advantage and use them for marketing purposes, in San Francisco the “Mayor” of a pizza place (don’t know the name) gets free pizza and 1st round of drinks free every week! thus causing other customers using Foursquare to compete for the “Mayorship” by visiting more. Fantastic idea!
These apps don’t only have gaming appeal, the social networking aspect between friends is just as valuable. In both cases the apps are private which means you authorise who can and can’t see you account making you whereabouts available to trusted people only. Im looking forward to the day when I can look at my Gowalla on a night out and see my friends are in the bar next door giving me the opportunity to go and say hello!!
Personally i’ve been using Gowalla for a couple of months and my verdict is I like it. The UI looks good and the ability to add location and geo tag them using my Iphones GPS is great! I do have to admit however that I do like the look of Foursquare, I find the Mayorship concept appealing. So the reason why I’m not using it???? Because Foursquare only supports locations for specific Cities… Until now!
Foursquare was only available in a handful of cities, 17 I Think, but earlier this week Foursquare Everywhere was released. This opened up Foursquare users to the whole world! Here’s the full article from the Foursquare blog to tell you exactly what this means.
So all’s what i’m waiting for now is Apple to past version 1.5 of the iphone app and i’ll be taking over Blackpool by becoming the Mayor one location at a time.
As I said location based gaming is set to be the next “Big Thing” in the next 12-24 months I think we will see this become as popular as twitter, maybe even farmville!
So follow me in my location based gaming quest and just hit me up a friends request from the links bellow
Follow me in Gowalla http://gowalla.com/users/Royston1980
Follow me in Foursquare http://foursquare.com/user/-204906
Peace and Love