take down your targets! a gps phone tag game

Cellphone users have long killed time in buses and airport lounges by playing the simple puzzle and action games that come with most mobile devices. Coming next to cellphones are games that require players to race around real-life cities hunting for other players to “tag” and games that challenge sports fans to guess the next moves of athletes in NFL games…

Many of the latest offerings from the mobile-games business will be on display at CTIA Wireless 2006, a big cellular-phone industry gathering in Las Vegas this week. Among them: PhoneTag, a game from an entertainment company founded by actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon that is something like capture the flag — the old Boy Scout game in which players hunt for an opposing team’s flag — on an urban scale. Another company, AirPlay Network Inc., is expected to announce a deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. to bring a range of games to Sprint subscribers that quiz users on the outcomes of televised sports matches, game shows and other live events as they’re unfolding.

LivePlanet, the Los Angeles entertainment company co-founded by Messrs. Affleck and Damon, is using such capabilities for PhoneTag, a game that will be available in July from Amp’d Mobile Inc., a youth-oriented wireless phone company, the companies announced yesterday. Amp’d said it will charge an undisclosed monthly fee to use the game.

Here’s how it will work: Amp’d Mobile users will be able to invite a circle of friends to join in a game of PhoneTag by sending text invitations to their cellphones, or to participate in a game with strangers. When a game starts, players will be given a target — another player — that appears on their cellphone screens as a dot on a virtual map. The game can be played on almost any territory, whether a college campus or a city.

At the same time hunters are pursuing their quarry, they themselves are being hunted by other players. When players get close to their prey, typically within a few yards, they virtually “tag” them hitting a button labeled “capture” on their cellphones. LivePlanet also plans to sell sponsorships that allow, say, Starbucks to turn its cafes into “safe havens” that let players temporarily cloak themselves on their opponents’ maps while they’re enjoying a latte.

Larry Tanz, chief executive of LivePlanet, stresses the safety of the game, pointing out that players don’t need to physically touch someone to capture them. Since all players, strangers or not, will be registered Amp’d subscribers, he says it will be difficult for anyone playing PhoneTag to use a pseudonym and harm another player.

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2 Responses to “take down your targets! a gps phone tag game”

  1. The Law of Mobility » Blog Archive » Converged Products: Week of 4/9/06 Says:

    […] Cellphone as a game of tag […]

  2. call this number for a good time « cornish game hen Says:

    […] next big handheld console to rival the DS or PSP, but I think it could be a new environment-aware way to play. As another example, MegaPhone creates multiplayer games on billboard-sized displays for […]

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