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May 27, 2010

Checking Out “Check-Ins”

The concept for games like these is unique in that it combines real-world experiences and local flair with mobile technology.  For example, iSpyApp enables a player to take a picture of something in a city, such as a statue, and upload it to the game.  From that point, other players take on the task of finding that statue based on an approximate location of a few city blocks.  When they find it, a picture is taken of the item and uploaded to the site, thus “solving” the game.

From a financial perspective, it stands to reason that this model of location-based game is poised to be more successful than others.  Local businesses can benefit from their town, or even the funny statue in the foyer, being featured in someone’s puzzle.  However, is there enough profit to go around?  Can other games compete?

Unfortunately, mobile apps cannot advertise the way internet sites can, for obvious reasons.  It’s safe to say that a banner ad or pop-up video on a smart phone would likely only infuriate the mobile user.  The challenge, then, is figuring out a way to generate enough revenue to keep games like these up and running without commercializing them to the point that they become undesirable.