Super Salvo Sports is a new football-prediction strategy game that debuts on the app stores today in advance of the Super Bowl.
The title is an attempt to get the huge numbers of fans who are watching the Super Bowl at home to engage with a real-time game on their mobile phones. The non-gambling game lets you pick the plays that will happen, giving you bragging rights over your friends if you prove to be the better strategist. The game hopes to tap into the “second-screen” trend where roughly 70 percent of NFL fans use their phones while watching their games on TV.
Super Salvo Sports comes from Honor Mountain Interactive, a startup run by Michael Ehrenberg, a former manager at Apple’s App Store and a former marketer at Gameloft and Nintendo. A year ago, Honor Mountain launched Bracket the Madness, a freemium app for NCAA March Madness fans. That app wasn’t huge, but it had reasonable engagement. Bracket the Madness had 60,000 downloads and 43,000 active users in three weeks.
That app had a trivia game to keep fans busy even after the tournament was over. Super Salvo Sports will have the same kind of gameplay, where you can play historical games at a hyper speed and make calls on what will happen. So fans can play those historical games anytime. Meanwhile, the game could also be played in real time during the Super Bowl. That gives it a potential audience of more than 100 million fans.
You start out with nine tiles of events that could happen at any given time in the game. You pick three events. If you get it right, and the event happens, you win. You can see how many points ahead or behind you are compared to leaders in real time. The game has power moves and other subtleties that let you change your strategy or predictions as you wish. You have to predict something that will happen in the least amount of plays in order to keep winning and getting the most points.
“People can play this as if they were the coach from the couch, if you should be running the ball or passing the ball at any given time,” Ehrenberg told GamesBeat. “You say the event will happen, but you don’t know when. You have to wait it out to see if the event will occur. If you decide you don’t want a tile anymore, you can use a special ‘bomb’ and eliminate that tile.”
Honor Mountain built the freemium game in just four months as a social title. It uses real-time data feeds from Sportradar to calculate the results.
“Think of it as Candy Crush Saga powered by ESPN Gamecast,” Ehrenberg said. “Two out of three viewers are constantly on their phones while watching games.”
He added, “We set out to create an immersive experience where it is all about the strategy of gaming. It’s not like sports gaming apps where you start with 10,000 chips. You risk it on an event. If you are right, you win.”
After the Super Bowl is over, fans can still play the Turbo Re-Play mode, where players choose to predict the play-by-play action in historical games. The players have to make decisions within seconds to earn the high score and predict the most correct plays. Some people may remember the game better than others, but the game is played at hyper speed to even out the competition.
“We hope to triple our engagement using this mode,” Ehrenberg said. “This like the medicine for the pain and depression that football fans go through after the season is over.”
Super Salvo Sports is available on iOS and Android. Honor Mountain has five people working on the product, and it has raised a seed round. The company may raise more money after it releases a new Bracket the Madness game in March. The Bracket the Madness game had more than 315,000 game sessions played by 14,000 players. That was more than 15 sessions per player.