For the last few weeks, one of our offices has been resounding to the thwack of leather on willow. I'm pleased to announce that we received a note from Cupertino yesterday, informing us that our hard work has come to fruition: we've launched Roulette Cricket, an iPhone app which has kept one of our teams busy for the last couple of months.
It's quite an unusual app, and builds on principles which have been interesting us for the last few years. Designed to be used as a "second screen" when watching or listening to cricket matches, the game invites players to bet on where the next boundary will be. (If you're not a cricket fan, a boundary is where the ball hits the edge of the pitch). Tap or swipe along one or more positions around the edge of the ground, see what odds you'll get, and choose how much you want to bet... then wait and see if you were right. Right now all betting is in points and it's all "just for fun". Even with this virtual currency, we're seeing the leaderboards of players get quite competitive :)
The founders of Roulette Cricket are genuine cricket fans, and have been playing this game themselves at matches for a little while, using paper plates and piles of coins; early workshops saw us all playing along to matches on Youtube, to get a feel for it... and then thinking about how to build on this experience for mobile. Since then we've been working closely with our customer to develop and refine the gameplay.
As genuine enthusiasts, the RC team have been an unusually engaged customer; we've taken advantage of this to involve them very closely in their product development. They've spent a half-day at FPHQ every couple of weeks, during which our team have demonstrated progress from the previous fortnight and had feedback, we've looked at the big picture of the project as a whole, and planned in the coming fortnight of work. We've always made efforts to be transparent with customers, but having them in the room with the team has made a significant positive difference to the product, the process, and the relationship. In future I'm looking forward to this style of collaboration being the norm for us, rather than the exception.
There's a suite of game mechanics lurking inside the app, but a really interesting aspect of the product is its use of live data - in fact the game can only be played live. We've long felt there's something interesting about mobile as a second screen for broadcast or events, and in many ways this feels like a natural progression of the work we did with the Ghost Detector in the US a few years ago. We think there's a lot of mileage here, and you'll be seeing a lot of activity in mobile as a second screen in the next few years.
You'll notice that what we've launched is "Roulette Cricket Lite"; there's more to come and we're beavering away on the next release, which will bring a load more features and refinements. In the meantime, we and Roulette Cricket are very interested in feedback from players; so please do download, have a game, and let us know what you think!
Kudos must go to the folks at FP who've been putting their heart and soul into this for the last few months: Douglas Hoskins, James Hugman, John Revill, Ben Carias, Trevor May, and Sergio Falletti.