Biba, a developer of mobile augmented reality games and apps, and PlayPower, a leading provider of play, sport and recreation equipment, have partnered to bring digital and real world play together.
The companies are inspiring kids to get back outside by fusing digital games with active outdoor play through new Biba mobile apps and Biba-Activated playgrounds from PlayPower.
“Biba’s mobile games designed for outdoor play are just a breath of fresh air,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, former Bioware Founder and Biba’s Chairman of the Board. “PlayPower and Biba are creating a new category, an inventive way to blend our new media habits with the health benefits and joy of active outdoor play. I am inspired by the category as a game designer and father.”
Biba games ensure children use the phone not as a vehicle for abstraction, but as an intuitive, single-function interface. In addition, the games are designed for ‘refereed play,’ keeping the phone predominantly within the parent’s hands, keeping kids safer, devices safer and providing parents an opportunity to have freeform fun with their kids.
“We want to change what screen time means,” said Matt Toner, President of Biba. “Our games bring kids back outside and turn playgrounds into the ultimate destination for modern families to go for healthy, active fun. Thanks to our partnership with PlayPower, we think we’ve blended the richest parts of mobile play with the unadulterated fun of jumping, swinging, sliding and playing outdoors.”
The storyline of Biba’s initial mobile games is simple: Playgrounds are transformed into the wreckage of robot spacecrafts that have crashed on Earth, and players interact with their very own companion robot, which encourages the player to explore the playground through its whimsical eyes. The games marry a colorful interface intended to foster the imaginations of kids ages 3-9 with a unique ‘embodied play’ game philosophy that encourages kids to actualize their gameplay with their bodies. Fun and age-appropriate physical challenges are reinforced through points, high scores and badges that can be shared online and with friends.
Biba games will be optimized for use with ‘Biba-Activated’ playgrounds from PlayPower, where augmented reality technology will create deeper gameplay experiences. Biba apps will provide information about the gameplay experiences available at each playground—enabling families to search and find their favorite playground destinations.. Some of the Biba games will work with playgrounds that aren’t Biba-Activated, since Biba games allow players to tag which types of playground equipment are available to them.
“Active outdoor play is essential to the development of healthy children. Getting enough active outdoor play for their kids is a problem with which most modern parents are familiar. The solution PlayPower has developed with Biba blends the technology-driven world that kids expect with the joyful outdoor fun that parents remember from their own childhood,” said Lynne Vandeveer, Chief Marketing Officer at PlayPower. “Parents’ concern for their children is justified by research that shows kids are spending too much time sitting still in front of a screen and not enough time outdoors. We intend to change that by engaging modern kids on their own terms.”
Biba games will be coming to mobile devices later this year, at the same time that Biba-activated PlayPower playground equipment will be populating city parks across the country.