There are so many games out there that it is very hard to do something new or different, but every now and then, one comes along that just stands out from the crowd with. Spanish start-up Echoboom has done just that, combining unique idea with strong game play in Dogfight. This multi-player game has over 3.5 million downloads and the company is now raising funds to bring it to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The team has also recently started a Kickstarter campaign.
The Madrid –based team were already making a living out of providing mobile services to third parties – and very successfully – but wanted to start providing their own apps too. They decided to focus on games, because that line of business wouldn’t compete with any of their existing customers.
Co-founder and General Manager Joaquin Grech (a 36 year old who’s been developing since he was 12) wanted to create a game that wasn’t just fun, but was also educational. He came up with the idea of a game that honoured the heroes of World Wars 1 and 2. Says Joaquin: “Dogfight Elite teaches people what the national air-forces of different countries went through during those wars. Most of us have heard about the big missions but there are many squadrons out there with heroes that aren’t so well known. We want to show their stories, big and small, within Dogfight Elite.”
“The game play is strong because as it is based on what really happened, it makes it very personal and real. We’ve had great user feedback: people are joining together on Dogfight Elite to create their own squadrons and that isn’t even a feature within the game. We’ve had over 1000 users organising themselves to compete on a particular day. A real community is building up around Dogfight, driven by the users themselves.”
“Another example is the son of the youngest American flying ace to survive World War 2 who asked us if we could feature his father and the name of his sweetheart and future wife Cathy Mae on one of the Dogfight planes.”
Although Echoboom have yet to launch Dogfight Elite in the Windows Store, Joaquin and his team already have a couple of apps developed on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. “I’m impressed with the technology. If you are used to Visual Studio – in my opinion still the best programming tool in the world – then you will be familiar with a lot of the features. I like the fact that you don’t need to copy stuff across: Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are fully integrated so changes take effect across both platforms.”
The company is also using the Windows Azure cloud platform and is a member of BizSpark. “Being part of the BizSpark program has given us access to free technology, which is a big deal for a small start-up. The support and networking opportunities have been great too; for instance the local team here in Madrid have given us opportunities to present at events.”
The game is currently free-to-play, though Echoboom plans to introduce a paid-for business model in the future. On the subject of money, Echoboom is raising funds between now and May 5th on Kickstarter, the online crowd-funding community. So, if you’ve got some dollars, Euros or other currency that you want to invest, you may just want to check them out.
But regardless of what the Echoboom guys raise on Kickstarter, with such an enthusiastic user base behind them, I think they are definitely one to watch.