BVF08: Akoha to be a Game-changer

Up next in the Banff Venture Forum IT Stream is Austin Hill of Akoha. We’ve covered Akoha plenty during 2008, so I won’t go into to detail with regards to their plans.

Playing with others is so much more fun than playing by yourself. The social nature of play and the connectivity of the Internet creates a new platform for social fun. By combining the power of play and the social nature of communities, we dream of new types of play that can both enlighten and uplift players to view the world in novel ways.

Our own Greg Andrews summed up the Akoha gameplay concept after their Techcrunch50 presentation a couple weeks ago:

Akoha implements this through mission cards with objectives like “give someone a book” or “invite someone for coffee”. Cards can be either virtual or real, and it would seem that the starter kits we offered yesterday are a deck of these cards. Each card has a unique ID that the player inputs to the website when the objective has been completed. A card can then be reused and passed forward. Completion of objectives earns the player “karma points” with rankings on high score lists. The web interface looked fairly engaging, with social network graphs showing people you’ve shared cards with, and maps showing where cards have travelled. Users can submit their own mission ideas, which are moderated.

Hill is a phenomenal presenter and will no doubt drum up some interest in the VC-heavy audience. Potential investors can definitely imagine the sponsorship, advertisement, and real-world marketing tie-in possibilities. And if Akoha players are able to ‘play it forward’ in the real-world, we’ll be seeing the Oprah-effect take over as mainstream media jumps on the bandwagon of this feel-good story.