Recently, my mailbox has started to fill up with invitations to various game competitions based on positioning technology. This one was from Alcatel and Vienna, and read:
Urban or location-based games – using the real world as the game board – are gaining speed as a hot trend. The folks behind Alcatel-Lucent’s touchatag – Near Field Communication APIs and mobile apps – are on the hunt for the best urban game with the Vienna Jungle Scrum Developer Challenge. With a tech twist on urban games and €5,000 up for grabs, the Vienna Jungle Scrum challenges mobile and RFID developers to use the city of Vienna as a backdrop. Using NFC technology – NFC mobile applications and “smart tags” – historical landmarks, buildings, and even people can be turned into game checkpoints.
This is technology in search of a job. Positioning tech is becoming very common, but there are still too few good game designers and working business models out there to really make the games commonplace. The biggest challenge is to understand who will play them. The most likely winner of the competition is another tourist application, leading visitors with too much time on their hands to neat places around Vienna. (The two first criteria for selecting the winner are “Education about Viennese history or culture”, and “Creative use of the city’s features and attractions in gameplay”).
If you want to enter, you can find more information about the competition in here. Maybe I can encourage somebody to try something different…