11 year old whizz kid releases his own computer game.
Schoolboy takes on the internet gaming industry
Game launched in July already a hit with 10,000 users
An entrepreneurial schoolboy has successfully launched his first game in the highly competitive internet gaming market, with 10,000 users in its first month.
‘Buccaneers and Lobsters’ was developed over the last eight months by 11 year old Peter from Crumlin, Co. Antrim. The game, which is set on the high seas during the Napoleonic Wars, asks players to use their skill and judgment to build and develop a fleet of warships in order to dominate the seas, in competition with other online players and teams.
The game is fun but it also has educational value, developing players’ knowledge of Napoleonic history and naval activity. ‘ I saw a gap’ says Peter, ‘when I couldn’t find an interactive, multi-player game that featured pirates after watching Pirates of The Caribbean & series such as Hornblower on the TV. This is a real area of interest for both boys & girls!’
Peter is primarily focused on gaining users from his target market of 8-12 year old boys, and knows his market well given that he’s just about to start secondary school himself. However, he has been pleasantly surprised to find the game has a wider appeal.
Peter explained; “We’ve asked older players what they think of the game and the feedback is good. We also have a growing following on Facebook from women, which is something I didn’t expect.”
Peter thoroughly researched his market and a key focus on the marketing strategy was to make the game educational, and Peter’s team have used related material linked to Wikipedia, You Tube and Facebook.
He said; “We spent a lot of time on working on the details of ‘Buccaneers and Lobsters’, to make sure it’s as accurate as possible and to encourage teachers and parents to see the value of the game.”
While other companies focus on impressive 3D graphics, Peter believes a focus on the fundamentals of the game is paramount to its success.
“The game must be playable, if a player can’t get into my game in five minutes then we’ve done something wrong,” he stated.
Peter is aiming high, and notes the success of US gaming company Zynga as a source of inspiration. Founded three years ago, the company is already valued at US $1 billion. While Zynga have an active payment option, you can play ‘Buccaneers and Lobsters’ for free, as Peter is determined to get the game right before developing his business model further.
Peter cites the highly successful Zynga game ‘Farmville’, where players pay to develop a virtual working farm, as a worthy model. “Access to the game is simple and it is constantly being improved,” he said.
Peter continued; “To get this right, we can’t say that Buccanneers and Lobsters will ever be finished. I need to keep updating it and adding to it if my players are going to keep coming back. Over the coming months I hope to add Ghost Ships, Special Items and Weapons, the ability to capture ports, and aim to host a series of historical naval battles that will enable players to pit their best and strongest ships against the best online opponents.”
The game has only just launched but it has already received rave reviews from Facebook users, and recent TV and social media campaigns promise to bring many thousands of new players to the game.
This young man is well placed to embrace new technology to promote his game and looks set to change the face of the Northern Ireland games industry, so watch this space.
Play the game at www.buccaneersandlobsters.com
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