No, I’m not talking about killing off zombie companies (although I do think entrepreneurs should do that.) And I’m not talking about real zombies either (although if you see one, please do something about it.)
Today, it’s all about virtual zombies in a new location-based MMORPG called Please Stay Calm.
Please Stay Calm is an iOS game available in the Canadian App Store today.
Download it here: http://endlp.me/plzstaycalm
It’ll be available in the US (and everywhere else) in October. But the Canadians out there, you get to whack zombies right away!
Please Stay Calm is the brainchild of Massive Damage Inc, which was our first investment at Year One Labs. The founders, Ken and Garry Seto, came to us late last year with a vague idea for a social, location-based game. From the get go they knew they wanted it to be about zombies, but they even explored other themes. At the time, there was no name for the game; there wasn’t even a name for the company! But they got that sorted out and spent the next 8-9 months building Please Stay Calm.
The game is based on a zombie apocalypse that’s starting to seriously take over. Using Foursquare locations, users can go to specific locations (checking in or not) and clear out the zombies. Users can also scavenge for supplies at locations, build outposts and safehouses. There are collaborative and competitive aspects to the game. When you fight in a location you actually gain the support of other people that are also checked in to that place (whether they’re players or not.) Safehouses can be joined by multiple people who keep it strong and secure, in turn benefitting everyone in the safehouse. But you can also attack other people and steal their stuff. In the middle of a zombie apocalypse no one said it’d be easy…
I’ve been playing since the very beginning, seeing many iterations along the way. Ken and Garry struggled with the Year One Labs’ lean startup model, because it’s hard to validate “fun” (which is pretty much essential in a game!) early on. Still, I believe the process (modified as we figured things out) helped focus Ken and Garry on what was important, how to cut out stuff that wasn’t essential, implementing appropriate instrumentation (for tracking appropriate, non-vanity metrics), etc. And the results – even in this first, early version of Please Stay Calm – are very compelling. The game is fun, addictive and competitive. And as I’ve pointed out before in discussing game incubators, games like Please Stay Calm have the potential of generating revenue instantly, which is fantastic and rare for a consumer-centric startup.
I’m excited to see how people react to the game. Ken and Garry are awesome marketers and game developers, and now it’s time for them to build a big business. Please Stay Calm is just the beginning…
Download Please Stay Calm (for iOS in Canada) here: http://endlp.me/plzstaycalm.