SCVNGR aims to bring challenge based play to LBS apps

Adding a game layer on top of the world

SCVNGR aims to bring challenge based play to LBS apps

The criticism of many location-based service (LBS) apps is that they don't go far enough in turning their promising set-ups into proper games.

Only MyTown currently verges on something approaching traditional gameplay.

However, new entry SCVNGR (pronounced scavenger) might well upset the apple cart, with co-founder Seth Priebatsch claiming the app will add "a game layer on top of the world".

Check-in challenge

Ambitious PR aside, SCVNGR comes with many of the features consumers have now come to expect from LBS apps, with users able to check-in whenever they visit locations in and around the city.

It goes beyond the standard model Foursquare, Gowalla and the like offer, however, to encourage players to carry out simple challenges in each venue - solving a riddle posed by the owners or snapping pictures of particular objects all earning points for their play.

"These challenges exist everywhere," the company says in a release detailing SCVNGR's set-up.

"From your local coffee shop, to the grocer on the corner, inside your favourite museum, to the Statue of Liberty and all the way back to your favourite restaurant. The average challenge takes less than six seconds."

Building up the play

Challenges can either be set by those who own the venue in question, or frequent visitors, with 20 million locations already on SCVNGR's database.

"SCVNGR is building the game layer on top of the world. But if this game is going to be any fun at all, everyone's got to be able to build it with us," says Priebatsch.

"Our new app is a great next step in building this layer, allowing anyone to casually play SCVNGR at over 20 million places. I love the creative nature of the challenges.

"Everywhere I go, whether it's down the street on an errand or visiting a new city, I'm pulling out my phone and having fun playing SCVNGR."

The firm behind the app, which shares its name, began life creating products for businesses, providing challenged based play for museums, universities, and zoos.

SCVNGR also recently picked up $4 million in funding from Google Ventures.

[source: SCVNGR]