MyTown, a location-based iPhone game by Booyah that’s like a mobile version of “Monopoly,” announced some impressive user numbers on Tuesday. The game has hit 3.1 million registered users and more than 400 million ‘check-ins’ to real-world locations across the US. And its recently launched product check-in feature, where users scan barcodes of real-world products to gain points and virtual items, has seen 350,000 check-ins in just three weeks.
This is bad news for competitor Foursquare.
The New York-based startup Foursquare is one of Silicon Valley’s latest darlings, and may even be on track to IPO next year. But the company is mainly built on the location-based check-in service.
A great feature, but an overhyped one.
“Location is definitely going to get commoditized when you start to see check-in federated by bigger players,” says Booyah chief executive Keith Lee. “So the question is going to be how do you build the best experiences, whether it’s a game or social experience.”
One of the “bigger players” rumored to be introducing geo-location is Facebook. Many expect the company to unveil the new feature at a company event on Wednesday. But even if it doesn’t release geo-location now, it’s only a matter of time before the social network does.
Meanwhile, Lee has been following his own advice with MyTown. Like Monopoly, MyTown lets players purchase, upgrade and collect rent on virtual properties that mirror the real-life locations. The check-in aspect is part of the game’s hook, but Booyah — with a team of game industry veterans who have worked for companies like Blizzard — has also taken great care to make the overall game experience a fun and interesting one.
Adding an interesting new feature like the product check-in was a smart move. It’s another way that advertisers like H&M and Microsoft have been able to engage MyTown players and enables new
activities like scavenger hunts. The early success of product check-ins is a reminder that geo-location on its own is not the interesting part. But combine it with other features and game mechanics, and the experience becomes something both users and advertisers want to join.
MyTown’s numbers speak for themselves. It has rocketed past Foursquare’s 2.6 million users and 100 million check-ins, having been around for a shorter amount of time. And the game is still only available on the iPhone and in a limited number of countries outside the US. Lee says that Booyah plans to expand MyTown to other platforms like Android, and to more countries and languages across the world in the coming weeks and months.（source：forbes）