Langlotz has recently been to China, to Chengdu and Chongqing, looking for investment. She came back convinced there was investment to be had, not immediately convinced Geo AR Games was in the right place at the moment to satisfy the requirements Chinese investors seemed keen on – a physical presence for the company in China, for one. The size of the Chinese market is obviously an appealing one, and Langlotz said translating the app was not a challenge. “We’re not very text-heavy and have a minimal user interface.”
The cultural elements, such as the Halloween and Christmas material being developed for Magical Park here, wouldn’t be appropriate for all territories – but territory-specific content could be built into deals, as Pukeko and NHNZ’s ZooMoo have both discovered while taking their respective titles The WotWots and Animal Friends to China.
For a geo-spatial app, China has particular requirements, such as no Google. There are alternatives, such as Baidu.
More immediately, Geo AR Games is dealing with enquiries from local councils in America and Germany. Longer term the company’s aim, in markets such as the US, is to partner with established kids entertainment brands such as Nickelodeon and create branded character-based options such as a Spongebob in the Park.
Playing close to the edge of new tech comes with challenges. Money is always harder to came by for unproven ideas, however passionate about them their creators are. There’s also a need to stay ahead of the curve – or carve out a niche that others can’t easily slip into as well.
“We’ve been working with geo-spatial AR for the last four years,” Langlotz says. “We’ve developed a lot of expertise and we’re ahead of the curve. The game is pretty stable, so you’re able to run around and play and it works.”
The stability and playability of Sharks in the Park and Magical Park is what’s creating a great user experience and driving kids’ 30-minute sessions running around outdoors. That’s well beyond the short-duration AR or VR experiences common elsewhere.
“What we’ve got now showcases the tech we’ve got that will take us forward for the next few years,” Langlotz says. “Sometimes you need to take a step back and work on your connections and networks to get some objective opinions and find solutions.
“Geo AR Games is now making money. We have finally had some revenue come through from Magical Park and a lot of interest from NZ councils. Now we need to put monetisation in place around Sharks in the Park.”
Keith is the editor of SCREENZ, and the co-creator and founding editor of CREWED.