Recent years have seen the world of digital entertainment open up to a much wider audience than ever before. Where once computer games were considered the preserve of bedroom dwelling teenage boys, today the gamer demographic is a lot more diverse, with mobile gaming, multiplayer, and even professional gaming as a spectator event growing in popularity. In the UK, for example, research from the Internet Advertising Bureau reveals that women now account for 52% of the gaming audience, and that 27% of the overall audience are over 44 years old.
So, what’s changed? One key factor has been the ubiquity of smartphones today – mainstream appetite for mobile gaming has developed as a result, disrupting the gaming market to such an extent that indie games can now compete with big budget competitors for the attention of gamers. As proven by the runaway success of titles like Flappy Bird, many players don’t care about things like flashy graphics as long as a game has a solid gameplay mechanic backing it up.
Netherlands-based Imagine Cup finalist Kuality Games, a team of three first year digital entertainment students, were well aware of this when they created Bounce ‘em Up, a physics-based, multiplayer action game. Based on solid foundations of fast-paced arcade-style gameplay, simple yet distinctive eye-catching visuals, and smooth intuitive controls, Bounce em’ Up allows players to compete against friends both locally and online.
The team first came up with the concept during a game jam event in December 2014 where, following 72 hours of hard work, the first prototype was completed. Feedback from other attendees was very positive, motivating the team to kick on and develop the game further. Discovering the Imagine Cup, and seeing what previous entrants had developed, provided even more encouragement to continue working on Bounce ‘em Up.
Kuality Games argue that one of the biggest challenges for young people kick-starting a technology project is the risk of failure. Ambitious projects require the commitment of time, and sometimes financial investment, both of which are lost if they fail to get off the ground. And securing investment in such projects can be very hard to come by in the first place.
When asked what advice they’d give to others thinking of taking on a similar project, the team recommends taking the time to do proper due diligence in advance, setting clear goals and realistic targets. They emphasized that proper planning and commitment to the work are both essential for success.
Looking ahead, the team believes that cross-platform gaming and virtual reality technology will be dominant within the next five years, stating that the introduction of products like Windows 10 and HoloLens will go a long way in terms of making this a reality. They argue that once these types of solutions have well-established consumer value propositions, we’ll start to see more developers using the technology to create amazing immersive experiences for players.
Take a look at Kuality Games and Bounce ‘em Up here.