A new gaming startup called Rewardify Games has officially launched its real-world reward platform, and the first game to have it is an in-house match-three title by the name of Jet Set Go.
The Rewardify platform can be used by just about any game developer to incentivize in-game actions, ad views, and other app interactions with real-world rewards on all sorts of scale, from a $10 PayPal card to huge discounts on cruises and hotels.
While the debut of the Rewardify platform is certainly exciting news for any mobile gamer, fans of match-three games are in for a treat with Jet Set Go. While many will be drawn to the game because of the promised real-world rewards, it has a number of its own merits.
Jet Set Go, as the name implies, centers on travel. You'll earn in-game coins just by playing, among other things, and you'll trek from one beautiful destination in the game to the next. The match-three gameplay on display here hearkens back to the genre's progenitors and innovators in its simplicity, giving players a break from the newest spin on Tetris or the multitude of blast games out there.
The game is a bit on the short side, though more levels could be added in the future. For zen casual gamers, though, this isn't really a bad thing; as with any other puzzle game, each level holds a multitude of possibilities, and part of the fun is in finding new ones. The coins you earn from playing will take a while to measure up to anything substantial, of course, but it's hard to argue against eventually getting a discounted dinner or $10 toward your PayPal balance in return for the simple act of swapping around colored pieces.
Rewardify Games is a small startup with a large amount of veteran talent behind it from various industries. Founder & CEO Deb Smith, for example, is a lifelong gamer with 15 years of entrepreneurial experience under the belt. The company's CPO and CTO, meanwhile, come from Glu Mobile, and each have tons of experience in both gaming and business under them. The advisory board sports backgrounds involved in Travelocity, HP and more, with one adviser even being part of the team that brought famous adventure game Myst to life.
While it's quite understandable that not everybody is going to want to play Jet Set Go, its intent as a demonstration for Rewardify Games' real-world reward platform is clear, and the potential is exciting. You may already be grinding through levels in a strategy game or MMO, or blasting monsters in a mobile action game on a daily basis. If that's the case, why not get something real for your troubles? Rewardify Games has figured out how to allow that to happen without putting any extra financial or logistical strain on the game company whose game you're playing.
Gamers have long plodded away at their favorite hobby, both at home and on the go, with little or nothing to show for it. The eSports scene and streaming represent the brightest a gaming star can burn right now, and even those are fragile and temperamental at the best of times. As a gamer, Smith saw the opportunity to leverage experience and technical background to paint a different picture, one that's meant to be an all-around win for gamers, advertisers, and developers.
It may not seem like it, but Rewardify's interaction rewards can be set low enough that that platform can be used to monetize a game and pull in profit for the creators. Only time will tell if this will be the end of annoying video ads each time your character dies or being constantly pressured to make micro-transactions, but the potential is definitely there.
In a sort of chain reaction, mobile gaming addicts who are getting more play time in can engage in more rewarded interactions than they otherwise would, which means a bigger, faster payday. The system isn't going to become popular or highly profitable overnight, but given sufficient time, it's quite possible that we could be seeing top-tier mobile gaming experiences that choose to limit ad content and reward gamers for their time, rather than forcing them to sit through ads or buy fancy in-game items to compete at higher levels.