Science & Technology

How a Startup Rethinks Mobile Gameplay as a Healing Activity – TechCrunch

According to Sensor Tower data, the mobile well-being app downloaded more than 1.2 billion times last year, and the leading meditation app Calm alone generated $ 118.2 million in revenue. It may leave those who believe that the digital well-being market has essentially settled, but new startup Lumi Interactive believes the opposite is true. A Melbourne-based women-led company has identified an unexplored niche in the mobile market, including converting offline self-care activities into games as a means of reducing our collective stress and anxiety.

Most mobile games focus on users competing with each other and achieving certain goals, but the startup’s next title Kinder World The main purpose is to allow users to relax. This is achieved through a short snack-sized session that asks players to take care of virtual houseplants by taking care of themselves in the real world.

The game encourages players to perform simple and kind acts, such as practicing daily gratitude, to improve the well-being of themselves and the wider community of the game. The game features a variety of stress-free activities, such as watering houseplants, interacting with animal neighbors, and decorating cozy rooms with plants.

Image credit: Lumi interactive

In a sense, this reminds us that we spent months of creative play during the pandemic. A game like Animal Crossing, A popular Nintendo game where a pressure-free environment has helped many relax and spend time under the blockade of COVID-19. In Animal Crossing, players designed indoor and outdoor spaces, bought costumes and home accessories, planted flowers, and created thickets with fellow animals.

After all, the pandemic also played a big role in establishing Lumi Interactive, the company told TechCrunch.

“In late 2020, we were a small team of three, but it was a tough year for our business, exhausted from the pandemic,” explains Lumi Interactive’s co-founder and CEO. Lauren Clinic. “”I decided to take two weeks to refresh with a game jam to make something completely new. And mental health was very much in our hearts. Also, with the strict blockade in Melbourne, we all wanted to get closer to nature and find out why foliage plants have become part of the self-care routines of many we know, “she said. increase.

This raised the question of whether foliage plant care could be incorporated into the digital world, and the team eventually prototyped the Kinder World.

“In just two weeks something special was born and the concept was quickly tested very strongly by our target audience,” says Clinnick.

Christina Chen, co-founder of Clinnick and Lumi Interactive, had a gaming background before founding the new company and knew each other for nearly a decade. Clinnick first entered the gaming industry as a marketing consultant for games such as Crossy Road, co-founded a boutique game marketing agency, and then moved directly to game development. Meanwhile, Chen has a technical background of working on payments on Xbox Live, later working as a senior producer at PopCap in Shanghai, and then co-founding game publisher Surprise Attack (now known as Fellow Traveler). I had it.

Clinnick says the duo combined mutual love for data, a poorly serviced player community, and new opportunities they believed were on the horizon of mobile gaming.

Image credit: Lumi interactive

When the team researched ideas for titles that were more collaborative and focused on self-care, they found that many today’s consumers aren’t happy with mainstream welfare apps.

“In fact, when we interviewed users, especially Gen Z, Millennial women, and non-binary people, 97% dropped out of apps like Headspace and Calm and either” felt like work “or failed. I found that it was the cause of. “The clinic says. “Instead, they often have fragmented relaxation hobbies such as games, houseplants, squishy malo collection, crafting, ASMR, etc. These mainly helped their short-term anxiety, but they It’s a distraction activity that didn’t help build important resilience skills in the long run, “she says.

Lumi Interactive responded to this feedback by making sure the game was designed so that no matter how you play it, it won’t fail. For example, all in-game activities are optional and virtual houseplants never die.

“”We made these choices consciously to avoid the burden on our players, “says the clinic.

Startups in line with the strategy of collaboratively developing games with the community Turned to TikTok Test different elements such as game design and art style to see what your users are interested in.

Lumi Interactive, which is currently growing with a 12-person full-time team, closed with $ 6.75 million in seed funding in March in a 16z-led round officially announced this week. Other investors include 1Up Ventures, Galileo Ventures, Eric Seufert’s Heracles Capital, and Emily Greer, co-founder and CEO of Double Loop Games.

Startups are spending money Grow your team So you can get informed from Lumi Interactive’s full-time welfare researchers to further develop a larger concept called “crowd healing.” Dr. Hannah Ganderman.. The company believes that this idea, which refers to sharing tenderness with others through self-care style gameplay, could be a new game category.

Of course, Lumi Interactive wasn’t the first to imagine a game that wasn’t focused on goals.There is a game It’s an interactive story Also Graphic novel Or other indie projects, but gamers often play through experience to draw conclusions. Kinder World, on the other hand, will be back whenever players need to relax, so the company is considering offering subscriptions in addition to standard in-app purchases.I’m also exploring it Online-An offline experience of physical items that can unleash the benefits and activities of a particular game.

Kinder World is currently in alpha testing on iOS and Android, with the goal of a full release in late 2022.

How a Startup Rethinks Mobile Gameplay as a Healing Activity – TechCrunch How a Startup Rethinks Mobile Gameplay as a Healing Activity – TechCrunch

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