Toronto’s Phantom Compass, contributors to the Skatoony Home Game for marblemedia’s Skatoony TV show, among others, has launched their latest project to the masses. Points 4 People is currently in public beta and uses a unique tag to add (or subtract) points for Twitter users.
The premise for the game (as explained on the P4P site), is to provide a global points exchange and leaderboard system for Twitter users like you. Reward your friends, penalize your enemies, or vice versa. Exchanged points are broadcast via Twitter, tracked by Points 4 People and automagically popped into our leaderboards, activity feeds, and profile pages. No additional signup or permission is required. Simply reference someone in your Twitter post, add the hashtag #p4p and a positive (eg. #p4p+56) or negative number (eg. #p4p-42) of your choice.
Phantom Compass Founding Partner & Producer/Director Tony Walsh is currently down in San Francisco, so I conducted a quick email interview with him to find out more about Points 4 People:
VG: How (and why) did you come up with the concept for Points4People?
TW: Our technical director Jos Yule had come up with the idea of Points 4 People as a secret side project. He mentioned the concept to me a few weeks ago while we were on our way to a meeting, and by the time we arrived we decided it had to get made.
As a game company we’ve been following developments in so-called “gamification” for years, and we’re fascinated by how invested people become in reward structures. Points 4 People is an experiment in this area, and we think it’s got a lot of potential for consumer and business use.
VG: How long has Points 4 People been in development?
TW: We’ve spent several weeks on the project but the development time was probably under 40 person-hours. We’re in an ongoing development phase now as we iron out bugs, test new ideas, and implement user feedback.
VG: What was the biggest challenge the studio faced in bringing Points 4 People to life?
TW: Time. We burned a lot of midnight oil immediately prior to launch.
VG: Will there be a monetization aspect to this gamification of Twitter?
TW: Absolutely. We’ve got consumer and B2B options cooking. We’re going to be very careful with how we handle the commercialization.
VG: I know you’ve only just launched – but has anyone taken the game too seriously yet? (I was meaning from an over-praising/vindictive perspective, but Tony’s answer is good news, too!)
TW:Yes, there’s already been unofficial interest from one of the world’s largest technology companies.
VG: Where do you see Points 4 People going – what is your hope for the game?
TW: We are paying close attention to what our users want and how they are using Points 4 People. As we plan for a Facebook implementation we’re also getting great feedback on the Twitter-based system and making changes on a daily basis.
VG: Thank you for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add?
TW: #p4p+1000 @villagegamer