Augmented Audio Game Spurs Fitness By Immersing Runners In Zombie Infested World [Future Of Gaming]

Augmented Audio Game Spurs Fitness By Immersing Runners In Zombie Infested World [Future Of Gaming]

PSFK discussed the Future Of Gaming with the founder of Six To Start about his augmented audio running game, Zombies, Run!

Timothy Ryan, PSFK Labs
  • 6 january 2011

As we begin research for our forthcoming ‘Future Of Gaming’ report, the PSFK consulting team has noticed that improved GPS capabilities available on mobile phones and other devices are being leveraged by game developers to transform real-world settings into game environments, often integrating audio and/or augmented reality into their platforms to create immersive experiences.

One company operating in this space is Six to Start. Their game, Zombies, Run!, is a soon to debut augmented audio running game for the iPhone, iPod Touch and Android that challenges users to rebuild civilization after a zombie apocalypse by completing location-specific tasks while running in the real world. Users cue the app and don headphones to collect medicine, ammo, batteries, and spare parts which can be used to build up and expand their base — all while getting orders, clues, and a story through their headphones. Missions last around 20-30 minutes and can be played in any city. The platform additionally records the distance, time, pace, and calories burned during all runs, and may soon include RunKeeper integration. PSFK spoke to founder Adrian Hon about his work.

Please provide a brief introduction about yourself and your company.

My name is Adrian Hon. I’m the CEO and co-founder of Six to Start. We specialize in creating game-like stories and story-like games for the web, mobile, and real world. Since 2007, our clients have included Disney, the BBC, Channel 4, and Penguin, and Six to Start has won multiple awards including Best of Show and Best Game SXSW.

I also also write about technology for The Telegraph, I’m writing a book called A History of the Future in 100 Objects, and I’m the co-founder of Transmedia London.

Please tell us about Zombies, Run! What is the idea and goal behind the game?

Zombies, Run! is an ultra-immersive running game for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android. We deliver the story straight to your headphones through orders and voice recordings – and back home, you can build and grow your base with the items you’ve collected. It’s an incredibly easy game to play, but it’s got plenty of depth.

The idea is that we want to make running–and exercise in general–more fun and more captivating through game-play and story. But it’s not the ‘gamification of fitness,’ other apps are doing that, and they’re doing it badly. There is nothing fun about adding badges and points and levels on their own. We’re all about creating an incredibly atmospheric and compelling world that the player wants to discover more of.

What has been the audience reaction? Can you share any stats around user engagement?

Zombies, Run! raised $73,000 on Kickstarter from 3500 backers –it’s the most successful and most popular video-game on Kickstarter, ever. We had front page stories on Wired, BoingBoing, Laughing Squid, and The Next Web, and hundreds of thousands of hits to our site, and it’s all been organic. We didn’t need to spend a single penny on advertising or marketing, because the concept is so strong and clear. This is a game thousands of people have paid for, sight unseen.

Right now, we’re still in development and are due to launch in February 2012. We have plenty of press lined up and we’re anticipating a big audience and very deep engagement.

We have noticed that improved GPS capabilities available on mobile phones and other devices are being leveraged by game developers to transform real-world settings into game environments, often integrating audio and/or augmented reality into their platforms to create immersive experiences. What do you think? Do you see this trend manifesting on a larger scale?

I think most of it isn’t very good. The only really popular AR game I can think of is Shadow Cities, and that’s more location-based than AR. The rest are basically toys and tech demos. There are two problems. Firstly, on the development side, it has been comparatively expensive to develop AR games (as compared to traditional 2D action or puzzle games). That should change as AR SDKs mature and improve, but for the moment, most of the games have been made to show off the tech rather than being of lasting fun.

Secondly, we’re only now at the point where enough people have good enough phones to support decent AR. I imagine most iOS developers would prefer to target iPhone 4+ due to the A4 chip and graphic acceleration.

In other words, there’s been plenty of hype so far, but not many games making that much money. It remains to be seen whether gamers even want to walk around looking at the world through their phone – it sounds awfully tiring to me, and more than a little stupid. But like I say, that will change and people will come up with better – and almost certainly, simpler and more fun – ideas.

Thanks Adrian!

Six to Start

Zombies, Run!

To learn more about what’s going on in the gaming space today, order a copy of PSFK’s Future of Gaming report.



Genetics Startup Is Working To Create A Completely Personalized, DNA-Based Range Of Products

Retail Yesterday

Store Technology Expert: Why Retailers Must Invest In Store Associates

Jan Kotowski, Head of Product at Tulip Retail, shares his thoughts on how retailers should be preparing for the future

Travel Yesterday

United Airlines Launches An Updated Business Class Program

The new Polaris product prioritizes customer service and updated modern amenities


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Design & Architecture Yesterday

Video Explores Complex Museum Architecture

A mini video gives a quick overview of the most beautiful cultural buildings built

Sustainability Yesterday

Smog Vacuum Turns Pollution Particulates Into Unique Jewelry

A large device was installed in Beijing that sucks up smog and compresses it into small centerpieces atop jewelry

Related Expert

Talmon Marco

VoIP Communication Services

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

PSA Fashion Line Shines A Light On Victim Blaming

YWCA Canada is using fashion and sexist tweets to highlight how often we as a society blame the victim in cases of abuse

Syndicated Yesterday

What PSX 2016 Tells Us About The Modern Games Industry

Nostalgia and big brands are defining how the console market is being shaped

Mobile Yesterday

VP: Why Messaging Apps Are Issuing In A New Era Of Commerce

Matt Johnson discusses how mobile messaging commerce is creating a different modality for interaction between retailers and consumers


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed december 2, 2016

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Technology Yesterday

The PSFK Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Based on a year of research by PSFK Labs, we curated a list of innovative and unique holiday gifts

Food Yesterday

Minute Maid Opens A Store That Sells Nothing

The beverage company opened a pop-up shop that encourages customers to write letters to their parents instead of buying a gift

Entertainment Yesterday

Samsung And Viceland Partner For A Virtual Reality Documentary On The Syrian War

The White Helmets film uses VR to immerse viewers in the everyday conditions of the war-torn country

Design & Architecture Yesterday

These Designs Bring Modern Architecture To The Humble Birdhouse

Artist Douglas Barnhard has imagined a series of designs emulating the work of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler

AI Yesterday

Nine Technologies To Invest In When It Comes To Retail [Future Of Retail]

Retailers are leveraging assistive technology to help employees in their daily tasks and customers on the sales floor


Conference Built Around Our Report Launch

Travel Yesterday

Acura Cockpit Envisions The Future Of Autonomous Travel

The car brand has built a proof that offers a sneak peek of the self-driving vehicle experience

Retail Yesterday

How Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Anytime Shopping & On-Demand Support

Retailers are leveraging advanced technology to relieve associates from mundane tasks, while better assisting customers

Cities Yesterday

NYC Map Calculates Economic Benefits Of Every Tree

TreesCount! maps all the greenery in the five boroughs and even figures out how much money it saves the city

No search results found.