If you’ve played a modern game, you’ve likely unlocked an achievement or trophy. Upcoming social website Honored wants to take those virtual tchotchkes and make them into something more.
Honored offers gamers the chance to order real badges and patches for in-game feats, and it’s running a crowdfunding campaign right now to get things started as soon as possible.
We talked with Honored founder J. Eckert about how he came up with the idea and how his site compares to something like Raptr.
An old concept made modern
“What started all of this was, years ago, I was going through a collection of some friend’s old gaming swag,” Eckert told GamesBeat. “I have a huge personal collection, and we were going through stuff, and he dug out a huge collection of the old Activision patches.”
Back in the 1980s, gamers could send in Polaroid pictures that captured certain moments in Activision games. The publisher would then send patches that players could collect and show off to friends. Seeing those patches gave Eckert the seed of an idea that would eventually grow into Honored.
“We talked about those patches, and we said, ‘Man, it would be so cool if you could have these for games today,'” said Eckert. “That was pretty much the extent of the original conversation.”
After that original thought, the idea bounced around the back of Eckert’s mind for years. He still found himself wishing he could get real badges for his in-game achievements, but it never occurred to him to try it himself.
“Then about a 1.5 years ago, I was laid off from Electronic Arts,” he said. “I wasn’t really doing a lot and started looking for things to do next. That’s when I said, ‘Wait a minute. I’ve been thinking about that idea for so long, I should just do it.'”
Eckert rounded up some of his friends to start brainstorming, and they ended deciding to make Eckert’s idea a reality.
“It was a case of all of us really wanting this for ourselves,” he said. “He want this service so we can use it to get badges of our own.”
That’s how Honored got its start. The website, as Eckert and his team envision it now, will track gamers actions across games. Players will then earn digital patches for achievements.
Isn’t that just like Raptr?
If you’re thinking that this concept sounds an awful lot like the game-tracking service Raptr, you’re not alone. Eckert says that the most frequently asked question is how Honored differs from that website.
“Raptr has a really great system in some ways,” he said. “It’s kinda cool to use, it has a lot of data, and everyone and their pet frog uses it. Those are all good things, but I don’t think Raptr takes what they do far enough.”
Raptr tracks a player’s achievements, but Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Steam already do that, which makes Raptr a bit redundant in Eckert’s eyes. Also, while people their trophies and awards, Eckert — inspired by 1980s-era Activision — is going to bring them to life.
When players earn virtual awards and badges, they can then purchase physical versions of those patches from Honored.
“Raptr takes all of your achievements and data and unifies it all in one place, and that’s as far as they take it,” said Eckert. “We’re not trying to just do that. We’re trying to give you an added value — to make it more, so that you can get recognized for what you did across all these games.”
Honored won’t just track individual achievements.
“We’re going to do some fun things,” said Eckert. “We recently posted a blog update talking about our meta achievements, like if you get the achievement related to Claptrap in Borderlands 2 and then you got the achievement related to Claptrap in Poker Night at the Inventory 2, we’ll combine them together and create a meta achievement for that.”
Honored will also get even more creative than that. The company plans to work with physical retailers to offer special event achievements. For example, if you go out to the midnight launch of a new game, the retailer might have a QR code you could scan to get the badge that recognizes you were a part of that experience.
The company hopes to partner with publishers to incorporate official designs and characters into badges.
Where’s the money in all of this?
As Eckert said, he and his friends want to create Honored because they want to use the service. They aren’t looking to build up the company has some hot tech startup that they can sell off.
That said, Eckert has worked out a basic business model that he thinks can support the site.
“When people unlock achievements that are worthy of having a badge, they’ll be able to buy the badge directly from the site,” said Eckert.
Each badge will sell for around $5, but Honored is considering a premium subscription for $15 a month where gamers could order up to eight patches per month at no extra charge.
Honored is also planning on forging partnerships with developers and publishers. Companies could ask Eckert and his team to make unique badges for gamers that visit their PAX booth, for example.
Crowdfunding to launch the site in beta
Right now, Honored’s website is still just a signup page, but the company is holding a crowdfunding campaign right now on website Indiegogo. The goal is to raise $25,000 and launch the website in December.
The project only has around nine days left, and gamers have contributed less than $4,000.
If Honored’s Indiegogo project expires without reaching its goal, it’s possible that the site won’t launch for a few more months.