Hot on the heels of Grey Area comes Lokus Digital, a Finnish mobile games startup that plans to take location-based multiplayer games to a whole new level. Founded by three University of Turku graduates, the company’s mission is ambitious – to blur the border between gaming and reality.
Paranoia aside, the CEO of Lokus Digital Jaakko Vainio says that current mobile games suffer from a lack of immersion. People tend to play them casually for a couple of minutes and then forget about the whole experience. What Lokus Digital wants to do is bring a deeper level of involvement into the world of mobile games by leveraging the mobile platform.
“Gaming and the real world do not have to be separate. With games we can expand the reality and make your imagination really work for you. Kids are great at this. You might tell them a story about Gauls and Roman legionnaires and they’ll spend the next two weeks seeing Romans behind every bus stop. We plan to bring this to adults too”, says Vainio.
The company aims to do this by taking full advantage of today’s smartphone technology. According to Vainio, “Mobile devices are all about communication. So, why are so few games taking advantage of the social aspect? When you really look at it, a smartphone holds an incredible load of features ready for developers to exploit. So, why not use them?”
Lokus Digital has recently participated at several startup camps, including a Startup Sauna Warmup event in Finland, where the guys successfully pitched an early version of the company’s location-based MMORPG, Endgame. As a result, Lokus Digital will be one of the 15 startups participating at this year’s second Startup Sauna seed accelerator program, which begins at the end of October.
Vainio says that the game will transport players into an era of the Cold War that is heavily influenced by classic 80s action movies. We can only hope that cheesy one-liners will be kept to a minimum! Lokus Digital will test the concept with a single-player prequel version of the game called Nuke Commander, due to be released within the next couple of weeks.
While both the product and the company are still at the very early stages of development, it will be interesting to see how the guys at Lokus Digital will pull it off. Be sure to check out Jaakko Vainio’s candid blog about the rocky but exciting road of a mobile games startup.