Over the last few years, the table game industry has grown explosively as millions of people have learned and rediscovered the fun of table games. The Last Gameboard wants to be a place of evolution. As a digital board game platform, we are moving from crowdfunding to a $ 4 million seed round, and after partnering with a major company in the industry, we plan to ship this year.
The Last Gameboard is a 16-inch (40.6 cm) square touch, as the company’s CEO and co-founder Shail Mehta explained at the TC Early Stage pitch-off in early 2021. It’s a screen device with a custom operating system and advanced technology for tracking game pieces and hand movements. The aim is to offer digital games instead of physical games with maximum profit and minimal compromise.
You may be familiar with this pitch. It has been tried once or twice in the past. I clearly remember being impressed with the potential of D & D on the original Microsoft Surface in 2009. I also played with another Surface on PAX many years ago. Until very recently, Mehta said there was no such technology and the market wasn’t ready.
“I’ve tried this before, but it was too expensive or unpopular, and it wasn’t technically that much, and it lacked the interaction part,” she said. Tells. Certainly, any player will admit that the iPad version of the game, for example, lacks the physical elements. The advance her company has made is that the touch screen can detect not only taps and drags, but also game pieces, gestures, and on-screen movements.
According to Mehta, “What a game board can do is something that existing touch screens and tablets can’t do. You can do unlimited touches, pieces, passives, and actives. Using a chess set at home, You can keep track of pieces as you set them up and down. Tags and custom shapes give you a unique identification. This is the next step in an interactive surface. “
The method isn’t special, so gameboards don’t follow the fate of the thousands of dollars (hundreds of thousands of dollars) Surface and its successors due to its unique and expensive construction. According to Mehta, game boards strictly process common capacitive touch data at higher frame rates than commonly used, and use machine learning to characterize the contours of objects. It explains that it will be tracked. “We haven’t created a completely new mechanism, we’re just optimizing what’s currently available,” she says.
The price of a game board is $ 699, which is not something you can buy on impulse, but in reality people spend a lot of money on games, and with all the extensions and parts, it costs hundreds of dollars. Some game titles cost (tens of thousands of yen). Board games are now an industry that exceeds $ 20 billion. If they can get the experience they expect, this is an investment that many players can make without hesitation.
Of course, no matter how powerful the gestures and features are, it doesn’t make sense if the platform has only bargains and popular old stores. Fortunately, The Last Gameboard has brought together some of the world’s most popular board game companies, aiming to be the definitive digital version of those games.
Asmodee Digital is a crowdfunding blockbuster “Scythe” and a large-scale dungeon crawl game “Gloomhaven” from the modern masterpieces “Catan” and “Carcassonne”. Groom Haven) ”is probably the biggest company that has turned many of today’s blockbusters into games. Currently, Dire Wolf Digital, Nomad Games, Auroch Digital, Restoration Games, Steve Jackson Games, Knights of Unity, Skyship Studios, EncounterPlus, PlannarAlly, Sugar Gamers, as well as individual creators and developers are listed as partners.
While these games may be best played face-to-face, they have also made the transition to digital versions, and incorporating larger screens and real pieces may allow for a better hybrid experience. unknown. You can also buy the game separately, like on your mobile phone or Steam, or subscribe to an unlimited access subscription (both prices are undecided).
Also, many game shops and game venues want to have some games ready. After trying the game over the counter, buying and stocking a few bottles or persuading consumers in the same way would be a great selling tactic for all parties.
The device not only offers unique and great digital games, but also allows you to connect with others to exchange tricks and send game invitations. According to Mehta, the entire operating system is “a living reality. It won’t work unless we own and create it.” The device is more than just a hairy Android with a built-in store, but it has the share of being able to easily bring in Android-based ports.
Lee Allentuck, head of content, said game developers and publishers have been preparing the industry for the next era in the last few years, including the outbreak of the new coronavirus. It suggests that he has begun to change his mind about. “They think there will be a crossover in the digital world, and if we can get involved in such a new trend from the beginning, it’s a great opportunity,” he said.
According to Allentac, who worked for Hasbro, there is widespread interest in the toy and board game industry to move forward technologically. However, as people say, “Chicken or the egg first,” the situation continues in which no market is created because there are no people to innovate, and no one innovates because there is no market. Fortunately, the situation has progressed to the point where companies like The Last Gameboard can raise $ 4 million to cover the cost of creating that market.
This round of The Last Gameboard was led by The VentureCity and was attended by SOSV, Riot Games, Conscience VC, Corner3 VC and others. Although the company did not participate in the HAX Shenzhen program as planned, it remains a HAX-affiliated company. Garrett Winther, a partner at SOSV, appreciates the company’s approach. “They are the first companies to effectively combine physical and digital gameplay collaboration without losing the community, storytelling, and competitive foundations we seek for games,” he said.
According to Mehta, the new coronavirus has disrupted funding scheduled for the same period in 2020, ruining everything and jeopardizing the company. “When we had a working prototype, we applied for a patent, it became popular, we were able to raise money, and everything went well, the new coronavirus broke out. However, for research and development. I was really fortunate because I had a lot of time. Our team was so small that no one was fired. We went into survival mode for about half a year and the platform was perfect. 2020 was a tough year for everyone, but we were able to focus on our core products. “
The company is currently launching a beta program in the summer of 2021 and, with feedback from it, is preparing to ship its first production units before the affordable holiday season.
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Category: Games / eSports
Tags: The Last Gameboard, Board Games, Financing
Image Credit: The Last Gameboard
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(Text: Devin Coldewey, Turnover: Dragonfly)