Ayeah Games, With New Seed Capital in Hand, Looks to Create “Social Reality” Games
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happenings in the political or entertainment world, say—and you can earn points by commenting on them or bringing your friends into a discussion.
“The narrative is formed by your interests,” Levin says. “It’s a parallel path to reality.”
It also sounds like it has some overlap with startups such as Pinyadda and Viximo in the Boston area, and Evri (which merged with Twine earlier this year) in San Francisco and Seattle. But Levin says Ayeah is different in that, first and foremost, it is a game—not a Web application, platform, or service. And, especially compared to most social games, he says, it is “highly structured, very accessible, and friendly.”
The game is free to play. Ayeah will make money off the sale of virtual goods in the game and, eventually, off of sponsorships and advertising, if its audience gets big enough. Down the road, it will also target various mobile-device platforms, such as the iPad, iPhone, and Droid phones. Levin says the company will be looking to raise more money starting next month.
Talking with a few techies and game startups around town, the impression I have is that people don’t really get what Ayeah Games is about yet. So how will the company succeed in the very crowded and competitive sector of social games?
“Make it really, really great, and test it, test it, test it,” Levin says. He touts the “huge amount of research” that his team and others have done to understand what kinds of consumer needs are not being met by existing social games—and how to make them more fun and engaging. “We will build a go-to-market and overall marketing model that takes advantage of all the distribution capabilities of Facebook and the social graph,” Levin says. To that end, he’s looking to hire some “brilliant people” for his staff. The company currently has six employees (plus a number of interns from business schools) and expects to grow to about 10 to 15 full-time employees by the end of this year, Levin says.
“We’re building a company that is a business, and we intend to grow. We want multiple titles and different levels of engagement,” Levin says. “We’re going for a big market.”