Private beta of new game asks: "What if playing a game could make the
world a better place ?
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - TechCrunch 50 Conference - Akoha,
a developer of real-world social games, launched a private beta of a new
social reality game at the TechCrunch 50 conference in San Francisco today.
Using mobile, web and real-world missions to create a new form of game play,
Akoha answers the question: "What if playing a game could make the world a
Inspired by elements of social entrepreneurship, massively multiplayer
and reality-based games, Akoha is a real world and virtual game in which
players carry out missions that involve performing small acts of kindness for
others. The activities of Akoha players are described on "mission cards" that
involve real world and virtual challenges. As Akoha players perform more
missions, they advance in the game, recruit new players and spread good deeds
across the planet. Akoha mission cards include activities such as "Donate an
Hour of Your Time," "Give Someone a Book" and "Send Drinks to a Couple in
"As one of the first casual reality-based games with the goal of creating
real-world meaning, Akoha is a new kind of game where the community's play can
bring people together, create novel experiences in players' lives, and allow
the community as a whole, through their play, to help make the world a better
place," said Austin Hill, co-founder and CEO of Akoha.
In contrast to increasingly rich virtual worlds and massively multiplayer
games, Akoha takes place in the real world, turning everyday life into the
ultimate playground. Akoha game play is simple and leverages offline activity
as well as cell phones, maps, barcodes and social websites, so that every
public place becomes part of Akoha's game play.
Each Akoha mission card has a unique code enabling people who receive a
card to register at the Akoha web site or via a mobile device, join the game,
and obtain their own deck of mission cards. These individuals then "play it
forward" by performing the mission for another person. As more missions are
carried out, players can track their missions across the globe, with each
person's story of receiving and forwarding the mission documented at the
In addition to mission cards created by Akoha, players can also suggest
mission cards for enhanced fun and more self-directed play. This allows
players to gain additional rewards for their creativity and ability to spread
Akoha. Once available commercially in 2009, player-initiated mission cards can
be added to custom-designed mission decks. Mission cards can be earned or
purchased through a combination of virtual and real currency.
Once released in 2009, Akoha will allow players to track their
accomplishments, the movement of cards in play and all user-generated content
like photos, videos and voice recordings, thus creating a highly interactive
and immersive experience.
Onstage at TechCrunch 50 today, Akoha co-founder Austin Hill
- The exchange of mission cards with video image and location commentary,
- The core exchange mechanics that allow missions to be passed from
player to player, and
- An iPhone application that reads two-dimensional barcodes from Akoha
mission cards and enables geo-located play.
Akoha is inviting TechCrunch 50 attendees to participate in a private
beta of its new concept in gaming. Attendees will each receive a deck of
real-world mission cards in order to play the game and provide feedback that
enables the continued development of Akoha in preparation for a 2009 public
launch. Some of the features demonstrated today will only become available as
Akoha also announced today that it is partnering with Room to Read in a
community challenge to construct a library in Nepal. The goal is to ensure
that Akoha game play during the private beta period will support educational
opportunities for children and improve socioeconomic conditions in the
developing world. In the future Akoha players will be able to link their game
play to various charitable organizations of their choice. During the beta, the
playtesting community will be able to participate in this community challenge
so that their game play will create positive real-world change.
"As a fellow entrepreneur, I am thrilled that Room to Read is part of the
Akoha launch," said Room to Read Founder and CEO John Wood. "The idea for Room
to Read started a decade ago when a Nepali teacher said a few words that would
forever change my life - "perhaps sir, you will someday come back with books."
With all the good fortune I had been blessed with, I felt compelled to "play
it forward" and return with books for his school. This is the same principle
Akoha is utilizing and why we are so excited to be their initial beneficiary."
Founded in 2007 by leading technology blog TechCrunch and entrepreneur
Jason Calacanis, the TechCrunch50 conference provides a platform for
early-stage, and frequently unfunded, companies to launch for the first time
to the technology industry's most influential venture capitalists,
corporations, angel investors, fellow entrepreneurs and the international
media. Companies are selected to participate exclusively on merit.
TechCrunch50 is supported by corporate sponsors Google, Microsoft, MySpace and
Yahoo!, as well as venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital, Mayfield
Fund, Clearstone Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, Founders Fund and
Fenwick & West.
Akoha is a new reality-based game that uses mobile, web and real-world
missions to create a new type of game play experience. Akoha was founded by
Austin Hill and Alex Eberts, long-time friends and entrepreneurs who first
worked together when Hill co-founded Zero-Knowledge Systems (now Radialpoint)
and Eberts served as its founding product manager. The idea for Akoha came
from a series of discussions resulting from the founders' attendance at the
TED Conference in Monterey, where the theme was "Ideas Big Enough to Change
the World," and the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where their friends were
discussing movies that can make a difference. Their conversations about game
design, social change and Internet trends led co-founders Hill and Eberts to
ask the question, "What if playing a game could make the world a better
place?" On April 28, 2008, Akoha announced it had received $1.9 million in
financing from angel investors. For more information, visit www.akoha.com.
For further information:
For further information: Dov Smith, Akoha media relations, (514)