Robin Games launches PLAYHOUSE, an interior design game you can both play and buy – TechCrunch


Female-led mobile games startup Robin Games has raised funds around the idea of ​​carving out a new niche in the “lifestyle games” market. The idea, the company explained during its public debut in 2020, was to create a more sophisticated and elegant fantasy gaming experience – something more in line with the type of content you’d typically find in a lifestyle magazine or profile. an Instagram influencer. . Today, the startup is releasing its first title to tackle this concept with the launch of a mobile game, PLAYHOUSE, which combines both gameplay and shopping into a single experience.

Available on iOS and Android, PLAYHOUSE is a DIY design game that allows players to drag and drop furniture and decor into spaces to create original looks for rooms using items such as murals, sofas , chairs, tables, plants and more. That alone doesn’t make the app unique – the interior design genre is a popular subgenre in the Simulation Games category on today’s app stores where competitors like Playtika’s Redecor, SayGames’ Decor Life – Home Design Game and Crowdstar’s Design Home: Dream Makeover can end up in the Top Charts.

Instead, where PLAYHOUSE sets itself apart is in both its technology and its partnerships.

The company lets users drag and drop pieces into the space, but also move, rotate, resize, and even layer items as they style the space in a much freer way. than some other games allow. Additionally, the company is working with real-life furniture brands to make its in-game items purchasable in real life.

At launch, PLAYHOUSE offers purchasable experiences that connect players to brands like Arhaus, Article, 1stDibs, Chairish, One Kings Lane, ABC Carpet & Home, Jenni Kayne, Society6, Bloomscape, Room & Board, and Lulu & Georgia, among others . In other words, the purpose of the game is not only to provide a creative outlet for fans of art and interior design, but also to foster the discovery of new furniture and decor.

Picture credits: Robin Games

Robin Games says that at launch, more than 6,000 real furniture and decor are available from more than 100 interior design brands available in the app. Players can choose to purchase the actual items they use to create their designs by visiting the retailer’s website.

This concept is a bit like Pinterest’s new collage-making app, Shuffles, which lets its players create personalized art experiences using their own photos and Pinterest pins. While the Shuffles app is primarily used as a creative tool before posting to TikTok or Instagram, the items featured in the collages link to their pin’s page on Pinterest – where they also link to the retailer’s website and can be bought, like THEATER.

“One of the main reasons we wanted to create PLAYHOUSE, and ‘lifestyle games’ in general, is that we see a hole in the market for truly expressive and creative games,” said Jill Wilson, co- Founder and CEO of Robin Games at TechCrunch. “It’s unusual to think of a game focused on interior design as a fantasy game, but it is – it’s a different type of fantasy than what’s typically explored in games. Designing spaces with beautiful rooms like you’re an interior designer is a real-world fantasy for many people, and our company is dedicated to giving gamers that experience,” she added.

Additionally, PLAYHOUSE users can submit their design projects to be rated by other players, earning them tickets, coins, and gems as well as other decoration pieces that they enjoy. help to level up. The company has also partnered with content creators, including design enthusiasts, artists, Airbnb hosts and others, to create limited-time “Hosted Projects” aimed at inspiring gamers’ own designs.

And it’s working with editorial publishing partners Condé Nast, Hearst (House Beautiful), Leaf Group (Hunker) and Design Milk who will be active hosts creating design challenges and other inspirational content, according to the company. House Beautiful, for example, will host a series of design challenges based on the articles it posts on its website.

Picture credits: Robin Games

During its soft launch period, the team refined the game mechanics, game controls, onboarding experience, and economy of the game, which is free with in-app purchases. While you can advance without playing, players can choose to pay to unlock additional coins with gems they purchase instead of waiting to earn them in-game through achievements. Limited-time bundles around a particular theme are also sometimes available for purchase, such as a bundle of special plants and plant-themed items that are only available in the bundle.

So far, more than a million design challenges have been submitted with the most dedicated players participating in each project released daily and sticking around long term, Wilson says.

After its $7 million seed, Robin Games closed a $14 million Series A in 2020 and continued to develop PLAYHOUSE in the months that followed. While being a female-led startup has given them an edge in a game primarily aimed at women, Wilson believes it’s the diversity of the team that will help her move forward.

Picture credits: Robin Games

“I love making games that I would want to play myself, and I think surrounding myself with a diverse group of talented people who also want to play the game we’re making gives us the best chance of success,” says Wilson. “At Robin Games, we have over 50% women on our Board of Directors, our management team and our team as a whole – and the majority of all our team members are passionate about design. Place the plug Creative decision-making in the hands of potential players is key to our authenticity and that’s why we think true design enthusiasts will love what we’ve created.While we anticipate that our audience will be mostly women, we tried to make it as inclusive as possible and hope that anyone who loves design will enjoy it,” she says.

PLAYHOUSE is available today on iOS and Android as a free download.


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