SAN FRANCISCO — The GamesBeat 2014 conference came to a close on Tuesday by announcing the winner of its “Who’s Got Game” Innovation Showdown — and it was a narrow decision.
Seven different companies took the stage to explain how their ideas will reshape the gaming market, but only The Tap Lab can claim “total world domination.” The studio showed off its new mobile game, Bigfoot Hunter, in front of an audience rich with games-industry experience and a four-person panel of experts. Despite seeing three-dimensional audio technology and a mobile game that promises to bring competitive shooting to mobile, the judges went with Bigfoot Hunter, which has players moving their phone around to snap pictures of forest critters as well as mythical beasts like Bigfoot and a yeti.
The Tap Lab founder and chief executive officer Dave Bisceglia told GamesBeat what pushed his game to the top of the showdown.
“We have a very unique game,” he said. “For an innovation showdown, that’s a good position to be in. The presentation went well, and the crowd was into it. It’s the type of game that sells itself. That’s kind of our superpower.”
The experts seemed most impressed with Bigfoot Hunter’s social-sharing features that encourage players to snap selfies alongside the game’s cartoon characters. Bisceglia even stopped his demonstration halfway through to have the judges get into a photo with Bigfoot himself.
As part of its big win, The Tap Lab gets a $5,000 scholarship for sponsor YetiZen’s early-game bootcamp program.
Hellogamers is working on a service of the same name that connects gaming personalities with audiences on YouTube and Twitch with sponsors that want to reach those gamers.
Chobolabs is building an online platforming shooter that hopes to bring competitive gaming to smartphones and tablets.
“I actually had a blast networking with the other finalists,” said Bisceglia. “I might actually end up working with some of them.”
The Tap Lab’s victory likely indicates that while services and e-sports are hot, few things are more lovable than a cartoon Bigfoot.