Gaming fans and startup aficionados – unite: Recently launched in Berlin, ‘Gbanga Famiglia’ is a mafia-themed app game with virtual and real world elements where you collect “superpowers” from startups across Berlin. “It’s a location-based game. So players physically move between locations to play and take-over virtual establishments throughout Berlin. It’s a game of quests and virtual treasures,” explains Gbanga CEO and co-founder Matthias Sala.
Essentially, players verse players in checking into startup companies’ real-world location to gain the relevant “power up” which is either GPS-initiated or scanned from QR-coded posters. While the game started in Gbanga’s hometown of Zurich in 2010, some startups in Berlin have now signed up as “superpowers” to the game, including; TunedIn as the social TV superpower, 7Moments as the photo-cloud superpower, eyeQuest as the social-sharing superpower, and rdio as the music-streaming superpower.
The interactive-advertorial aspect of the app makes it appealing for small startup companies to market their wares for a fee. “We looked at excluding big companies – as it’d be too ‘spammy’. Startups are interesting concepts and it’s all being done in the spirit of entrepreneurship,” says Sala. Gbanga makes its money through players purchasing virtual goods: “There’s a whole range of items. The most expensive is ‘world domination’ where you rule all the virtual locations of startups. But you need to physically visit startups to maintain your ‘power’ otherwise it gets lost to other players,” Sala adds.