PressOK Entertainment is taking a unique approach to socializing mobile games. As covered in TechCrunch and elsewhere this week, the startup launched a new service this week called PlacePlay, which is a “location enablement platform” for game developers set up geo-specific tournaments. The addition of location simplifies the path to monetization and drives up user engagement (up to 1.6x, according to PlacePlay). PlacePlay platform enables mobile game developers to “locationify” regular games played on smartphones. This lets consumers interact with other players in their area, and gives developers access to local ad networks, which produce monetization opportunities arising from being able to dynamically target localized consumer eyeballs.
The PlacePlay platform uses Urban Airship’s Push notifications to add value to the platform, for both game publishers and end users. As we posted earlier this week, we’re bullish on location, and adding it to games is sort of brilliant. Urban Airship chats with Ryan Morel, one of two cofounders of PressOK Entertainment about how Push is integral to the mobile platform.
Congratulations on the release. Can you tell us a little about how you are utilizing push?
PlacePlay includes integrated Urban Airship Push technology, which is vital to the success of PlacePlay for everyone in our ecosystem. At the most basic level, when a user participates in a tournament and beats another user’s score, PlacePlay utilizesUrban Airship Push to notify that user to go back in and play, creating a self-fulfilling engagement. The obvious next step is to notify users in specific geographic territories of sponsored tournaments in their area, enabling consumers to compete for real rewards. Local events drive consumer action for brands, advertisers and merchants. We couldn’t do that without push notifications.
PlacePlay–enabled games will be in a variety of iOS App Store categories, from puzzle to action to arcade. Given that PlacePlay also supports location-enabled virtual goods, objects and achievements, it’s a natural extension to any game available on mobile.
What problem were you trying to solve with push notifications?
One of the biggest problems we see is consistent engagement amongst app users. People play a game, then leave and never come back. Users who participate in tournaments, especially ones with a reward associated, want to know when their score has been beaten and want to participate in other tournaments around them. It’s a great way for developers to drive consistent engagement, which ultimately drives in-app purchase, ad impressions, or the virality of a game.
What level of engagement do you think that push notifications will provide to your app? Will it help to drive better use?
There are lots of factors that will go in to how much engagement push will drive, but we definitely believe it will drive higher usage, especially where there are virtual or real rewards involved in tournaments. Over time, as we add sponsors, rewards and so on, we’ll be able to drive significant repeat usage and engagement via push notifications. We can’t underscore how important push is to the PlacePlay ecosystem.
What goals you were trying to achieve by integrating with us?
The goal was to make PlacePlay as comprehensive of a solution as possible. We know that developers are consistently bombarded by companies offering whiz-bang SDK’s; that’s overwhelming. With PlacePlay we wanted to provide developers with as much value as possible with one integration. So, when a developer integrates PlacePlay, they get Urban Airship push notifications, integrated local advertising networks (which they can choose to use or not), and great features that drive engagement in their game, all in one SDK.
Why did you choose Urban Airship?
We chose Urban Airship because of its best-of-breed technology and people. We could have built our own push technology, but it just doesn’t make sense when there is an existing, market-proven solution available. Everyone at Urban Airship has been super helpful and willing to assist us as we drive PlacePlay to the market. For a small company working to create a compelling product in a crowded market place, that combination is awesome.
Are there any features you would like for us to consider in our next product release?
We’d love to see more detailed reporting and the ability to schedule push campaigns to specific geographies.
Ed. note: Urban Airship Reports provides actionable, quantitative data on app usage, push notifications and time in app. New features coming soon – stay tuned. Better yet, sign up now for the Free Trial of Reports and be the first to know.
Mashable Talks Location-Based Gaming.