Playd is a new mobile application that lets you check in to games the way Foursquare users check in to venues. Actually, the app is more akin to something like Miso, GetGlue or IntoNow - apps which extend the check-in metaphor to other activities, like watching TV or seeing a movie.
The company is one of the first to launch from the NewMe Accelerator, the startup accelerator whose focus is on giving black founders a leg up in Silicon Valley. It was also featured in CNN’s documentary on race and tech entrepreneurship – yep, that one – but lets not hold that against Playd, OK?
The concept behind Playd is familiar: users check in to the game they’re playing to alert their social network of fellow gamers of the activity. But Playd is different from other entertainment-focused check-in apps because it verifies that users have access to the game in question. The app currently supports check-ins for any game, old or new, through the use of a UPC barcode scanning feature. Alternately, gamers can also connect their online accounts for Xbox LIVE, PSN or Steam, in order to authenticate their activity. (Steam, however, will be removed in the next update due to its recent security issues. Playd will bring it back when Steam fixes its problems, we’re told).
This verification process is useful for Playd’s potential partners – retailers, game developers and advertisers – because it will allow them to authenticate the game’s users and specifically target a niche group with offers or rewards.
Currently, gamers collect these rewards in the form of tokens, which are now being redeemed for badges and free Playd gear. In the future, partners could also dole out things like discounts, free merchandise, exclusive downloadable content and more. For example, a partner could choose to reward gamers who scanned the barcode of a newly released title on game day. Or publishers could reward a game’s most active users.
While the company doesn’t have any partners to announce publicly just yet, Co-founder Anthony Frasier says they’re in talks with several and hope to be able to announce the first soon. In the meantime, gamers can try out the Playd experience by downloading the app here on iTunes or here on the Android Market.
Since NewMe didn’t offer funding, Playd will be looking to raise a seed round in early 2012.