Interactive Fiction – Killer Stories for Killer Apps

bootstrapThe goal for this web site for it to become a practical resource that helps new entrepreneurs fast-track new startup venture ideas, in particular those considering Crowdfunding.

This will be achieved through development of our Startup Guides library section.

Crowdfunding Accelerators

With this in mind key activities will include showcasing related industry trends and opportunities, for example analyzing sectors like “Interactive Fiction social gaming”, where popular online communities intersect with games and storytelling.

As described in this Guardian news article, ventures like tech gadgets, films, books and games are all ideal candidates for crowdfunding, with many successfully raising tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for new projects. This is because quite simply they’re the most fun of course! So they naturally generate the most interest and thus demand.

For example check out  this video trailer for a new concept of game, ‘The Hum Game‘, great concept for a horror game. Not  surprisingly this spookie atmosphere attracted the fans required to begin its funding journey.

Virtual Cloud Gaming

Furthermore with our Cloud computing and innovation focus, we’ll also look at the role of new technologies and even new game formats they can enable, to help add more stimulus to the topic.

Really the key message about the technology is that nowadays there is so much horsepower you are truly limited only by your imagination, and so innovative originality in the format and the storytelling is key as well now.

As Wikipedia describes Cloud Gaming is the core building block of using the infrastructure as a capacity, for the computing and media streaming required to operate online games, such as Minecraft moving to Amazon.

This is only one small step though in the potential of levering Cloud innovations. For example in this article the interviewee describes how he is bringing console quality gaming to mobile devices, so there is innovation continually happening across all the technologies involved. Again each presents a related commercial opportunity, this was a project successfully funded through Kickstarter for $500k.

Furthermore there is the expansive capacity of virtual worlds and the virtual realities made possible by wearable technologies such as Google’s Oculus Rift.

For example as described in this Globe and Mail news article, Globacore is modernizing classic arcade games like Paperboy,

creating virtual reality versions.

“CGaaS” – Cloud Gaming as a Service, could be an ideal platform to scale this to a much larger level. For example a massive online multi-player version, with lots of cyclists all competing on the same street, where this is all computed centrally online via a Cloud service.

This would be a great gaming segment and then furthermore these virtual reality techniques could be reapplied in other areas like Healthcare.

Interactive Fiction Social Gaming

Another dimension where gaming is expanding is the intersection with narrative and fictional storytelling, such as ‘Interactive Fiction‘.

The nature of this fusion and the huge potential it represents is well expressed through this Guardian feature article: Beyond The Shoot-Em-Up. Simon Parkin describes how the gaming industry has become larger than Hollywood movies, and therefore can almost be approached in the same way, in terms of investing in plot and character, given high quality games must now be to compete with the likes of GTA V that have hugely complex narratives.

However it’s worth it, with GTA raking in $1 billion in its first week alone, a far larger sum than any movie!

In the article the author discusses how difficult the combination is, given storytelling happens in an entirely linear fashion in movies whereas with games it can be chaotic, but how important it is and hence the movie tie-in opportunities like Tomb Raider where it sets the scene for the game and they each also magnify the commercial success of the other.

Also critically the author identifies how this trend is catering for older and adult audiences, who enjoy gaming but are looking for a more intellectually challenging experience, highlighting popular but more niche approaches like Inkle and Twine.

These enable any one to easily create ‘Interactive Fiction’, the online versions of role-playing game books, such as such as Fighting Fantasy. These books had a written story line that the reader followed, but by offering the option to jump to different page numbers depending on a choice they made at certain points, could also be controlled by the reader to some degree.

With the other technology advances we have discussed this principle could evolve in all kinds of directions, and prove highly popular.

For example Kickstarter recently reported one of their popular projects was ‘Ever Jane‘, a virtual gaming world based on the novel.

Social media communities could be further added to the mix, enabling another dimension of participation for players, so the spectrum of possibilities is quite vast, and we’ll explore some of these in detail as part of this ongoing Media and Games series.

Conclusion

The value of this format to aspiring amateur entrepreneurs can be conveyed especially through their potential value to investors. Any one of these projects has the potential to become a hit both in Angry Bird scale terms but also then combined with Harry Potter scale terms as well.

The story could be as equally engaging to young readers, as compulsive it is to play on your smartphone, so consider how big they could become but yet can be funded for amounts as little as $10k through $100k.

Certainly many will be duds but that scale means when one is hit out the park, it ain’t just clearing the car park, it’s clearing the state! That kind of flip potential is extremely rare and hence a fertile area for those willing to take larger risks with smaller chunks of funds.

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