Back in 2012, BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk announced his retirement from the company he helped start-up, stating that “I’m not going to be working in games for a while, and there’s a strong possibility that I won’t be back”, with the hope of pursuing a career in beer journalism.
Well, three years later, it appears that he has chosen to return, not working for BioWare, nor even working on an RPG.
No, Zeschuk is now – somewhat surprisingly – the chairman of a company called Biba, a Vancouver-based developer, working on mobile augmented reality apps, which will allow children to interact with playground equipment.
The company have announced their collaboration with PlayPower, a company which manufactures playground equipment.
“Biba’s mobile games designed for outdoor play are just a breath of fresh air,” said Zeschuk. “PlayPower and Biba are creating a new category, an inventive way to blend our new media habits with the health benefits and joy of active outdoor play. I am inspired by the category as a game designer and father.”
Matt Toner, the President of Biba, went on to say, “We want to change what screen time means. Our games bring kids back outside and turn playgrounds into the ultimate destination for modern families to go for healthy, active fun. Thanks to our partnership with PlayPower, we think we’ve blended the richest parts of mobile play with the unadulterated fun of jumping, swinging, sliding and playing outdoors.”
The premise of the product is simple. Childrens’ playgrounds are set to be transformed into the wreckage of robot spacecrafts that have crashed to Earth, and players use the app on the equipment in order to interact with a companion robot, encouraging children to explore the playground to another level. Utilizing a colorful interface, with the intention of appealing to children between the ages of three and nine, in turn encouraging outdoor play and exercise. Physical challenges are said to be fun and age-appropriate, with kids being rewarded through points, high scores and badges that can be shared online and with friends.
“Active outdoor play is essential to the development of healthy children,” Chief marketing officer at PlayPower Lynne Vandeveer added. “Getting enough active outdoor play for their kids is a problem with which most modern parents are familiar. The solution PlayPower has developed with Biba blends the technology-driven world that kids expect with the joyful outdoor fun that parents remember from their own childhood.
“Parents’ concern for their children is justified by research that shows kids are spending too much time sitting still in front of a screen and not enough time outdoors. We intend to change that by engaging modern kids on their own terms.”
Biba are set to launch their playground based apps later this year.