Fantasy sports leagues are hugely popular, but the experience of playing them doesn’t translate well to the small screen of mobile phones. An overabundance of statistics and complicated actions bog down the experience. So a trio of guys at Pickmoto have launched an app to simplify sports betting for the rest of us.
Sports betting games are becoming increasingly popular as developers realize that social casino games have saturated the market. Sports has the potential to be a huge genre on social and mobile platforms, but no one has really broadened the market with a stand-out implementation yet.
Pickmoto has created a simple app for the iPhone that allows you to place bets on who will win a particular sports game. The free-to-play app debuted on iOS on Aug. 26 in time for the 2012 NFL football season. To play, you simply pick who you think is going to win the game. You don’t have to dwell on the performance of individual players or point spreads.
“The experience does not translate to the small screen, yet gaming is going mobile,” said Ben Peters, co-founder of the company. “For sports to follow, games must be rethought, remodeled, rebuilt. That’s what Pickmoto is doing.”
The importance on mobile devices is to reduce friction (the number of people who quit an app because it is frustrating or confusing). So far, the game has a few thousand users who have made more than 80,000 picks.
“We’re not trying to replace fantasy sports,” Peters said. “We’re reinventing the experience for mobile play. If you like fantasy sports, you’ll like Pickmoto. Our game is more in sync with what sports is about. It’s less time-consuming and detail-oriented. It offers you a universal score, a total QB rating of sports IQ. More than anything, we’re building Pickmoto to usher in a new era of mobile sports gaming.”
In the game, the less popular a pick, the more it’s worth in victory points. That amounts to crowdscourced scoring. Each week is a new match, and players can play Pickmoto through the Super Bowl and challenge random opponents. The game has leaderboards and integrates with Facebook and Twitter. You can spend money on in-app features known as Gold pins, which allow more than one pick on a game. You start with three gold pins and can earn more by making all the picks for the week or by inviting friends.
After months of preparation, Peters founded the company with fellow UCLA grads Ryan Gerard and James Wildman in April 2012. They all shared a passion for sports and technology and hope to disrupt the sports technology market. Rivals include SportsPicker (from OHK Labs, which we recently profiled), PrePlay, ESPN, and Yahoo. An iPad version is coming soon. The company has not raised any funding to date. The team is operating out of apartments in San Francisco.