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Marketing mobile games

Local startup ZenFri Inc. committed to keeping original design

Sitting in their creative workspace on Corydon Avenue, husband and wife Corey and Danielle King work on finalizing travel arrangements for Corey’s speaking engagement in Munich in October.

The Winnipeg startup company, ZenFri Inc., was awarded $710,000 in August by the Canada Media Fund for their yet to be produced video game Clandestine Anomaly. The company is now facing new challenges. ZenFri is turning its efforts from securing funds to putting Corey King’s vision into production. The game will be the largest original game to ever be created in Manitoba.

Clandestine Anomaly was officially awarded “Best Augmented Reality Game” from the 2013 international GamAR Metaio Developer Competition, prompting the Corey King’s next trip to Germany. He is the keynote speaker for back-to-back days.

The game, designed for mobile devices, uses a new technology called augmented reality that is blended with GPS. The game puts the player into the story and allows them to experience a layered sci-fi story in real time.

“It’s a new challenge for us,” said Corey King. “We are now trying to line up publishers. There is a lot of terror, but it is exciting that there is a lot of [outside] interest in going further.”

King would not specify which publishers are interested, but he said ZenFri must sell the game to publishers quickly.

“Right now, we are learning as we go. It’s really a race against time,” he said.

“Every talk is good, but it also might inspire competition.”

This leads to the next challenge for ZenFri—keeping true to their design in the worldwide market.

“I want to tell a great story that people can have an emotional connection to.”

He added, “I want to tell a fresh new story that people can find ways to relate to. There are a lot of people willing to make suggestions.”

“It’s tough. There is skepticism for what Corey is trying to do. Until they see it live, it can be a difficult sell,” said Danielle King.

“I would rather fail and keep the game as close to my dream, then succeed with the story being off,” Corey King said smiling.

The game has generated a lot of media attention because of the Canada Media Fund grant and its success through demonstrations at the Augmented World Expo in California and conferences in Germany and Spain.

Once ZenFri secures a publisher, the task will be actual game production and an eventual release next year.

Visit their website, Zenfri.com, for more information.