Ayeah Games, With New Seed Capital in Hand, Looks to Create “Social Reality” Games

8/16/10Follow @gthuang

When it comes to social games, there isn’t all that much going on around Boston—at least compared to places like the San Francisco Bay Area, Germany and Eastern Europe, or Buenos Aires.

But that might be about to change.

Ayeah Games, a stealthy Boston startup, is working on what it calls a “social reality” game, which touches many current themes in the tech world, including social networks, personalized news streams, Web annotation, and game mechanics. The company has gotten an undisclosed amount of seed capital from angel investors and micro-VC firms, including John Landry of Lead Dog Ventures and Janpieter Scheerder of Eureeka Ventures. Details about the startup and its financing were first reported last week by Galen Moore of Mass High Tech.

The company is the brainchild of Doug Levin, a longtime tech entrepreneur, startup advisor, and founder of Black Duck Software in Waltham, MA. Back in the late 1980s and early ‘90s he worked at Microsoft in sales, marketing, and other areas. But he is a gamer at heart, and says he is looking to enter the sector aggressively and define a new category of games. Ayeah also counts Steve Kane, the founder of Full Circle Media and GameLogic, as an advisor.

Ayeah (pronounced AH-yeah) is different from most people’s idea of a social game—that is, casual games like FarmVille, Café World, or Bejeweled Blitz, played on Facebook or other social networks. Instead, Ayeah is “marrying the best of the social graph with a really accessible game,” Levin says. The basic idea, as I understand it, is to let players follow the events they’re interested in online, react to and comment on them, and interact with friends and other players—all in a fun format that encourages competition, advancing to new levels within the game, and earning and buying virtual goods (which is probably where most of Ayeah’s revenue will come from, over time).

Here’s how it works—though the details of the game are currently being worked out, so it still sounds pretty abstract. The game will start out as a Facebook app, which people can sign up for now. It will be available in private beta trials early next month, followed by an open beta in October. When you enter the game, you are asked a series of questions about your interests—what kinds of music, movies, or literature you like, for instance. Then the game channels certain events to you—news about … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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