Hopskoch Promises a New Take on Platforms

Hopskoch Promises a New Take on Platforms

2015
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Hopskoch is a new social interaction platform for publishers and marketers looking to attract, cultivate and retain brand enthusiasts. It was released a few weeks ago by the developer, Sifr, a startup out of New York. Hopskoch makes it easy for a mainstream web and mobile audience to interact with each other and the brands they love through a language of fun photo-taking games and storytelling. The platform already has a growing community of players, and I sat down with Sunil Madhu and Marty Monaco, Sifr’s founders, to talk about the motivations behind the play.

Hopskoch uses light-weight games to engage playersCurrent apps like Foursquare and SCVNGR are encouraging players to interact in the real world, but Sunil believes that moving people around with check-ins or rewarding them with badges is not a very meaningful or fun encounter. He is developing game mechanics that will hopefully enrich experiences across the space.

The premise at this stage is fairly simple. Every day, Hopskoch releases a new light-weight challenge for players tocomplete. Currently, the only types of games are picture based: for example “Take a picture with your god/goddess”, “Take a picture of your favorite Color”, and my recent favorite “Take a picture of your favorite tax write-off” (most people snapped a pic of their children). The game mechanics borrow from childhood games like iSpy and Tag and  utilize Hopskoch’s proprietary technology and social media twists. More game mechanics are on the way, and Sifr’s CEO, Sunil Madhu gave me a sneak peak at some of their future releases which include answering trivia, location based games and team-based quests.

With Hopskoch’s proprietary platform, players and organizations will be able to make their own games via an in-game interface as well as through developer APIs. This is somewhat similar to the unlockable feature of SCVNGR where you are able to create your own challenges at frequented locations, but with Hopskoch, game designers will be able to choose whether to release them universally or to singular groups of players, friends and family for a more intimate social experience.

And the player-side app is just the tip of the iceberg. Sifr is developing Hopskoch as a gamification platform that unites the typical features of an online platform with mobile games. This is a great advancement as challenges can be connected across an organization’s websites to a smart phone. As most platforms have either been web based (Bunchball, BigDoor, Badgeville) or mobile (SCVNGR, Foursquare, etc), combining the two can be particularly important for organizations with a large physical footprint.

While gamification is just beginning to expand, Hopskoch promises to shake up some of the notions that separate mobile and net based vendors and engage more players in the process.

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