Robin Games presents PLAYHOUSE, an interior design game that you can play and buy – TechCrunch

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The female-led mobile gaming startup Robin Games raised funds around the idea of ​​creating a new niche in the “lifestyle gaming” market. The idea, the company explained at the time of its public debut in 2020, was to create a fantasy gaming experience that was more sophisticated and elegant, something more in line with the kind of content you’d typically find in a lifestyle magazine or in the profile of an Instagram influencer. . Today, the startup launches its first title to address this concept with the launch of a mobile game, PLAYHOUSE, which combines gameplay and shopping in a single experience.

Available on iOS and Android, PLAYHOUSE is a DIY design game that allows players to drag and drop furniture and décor into spaces to create original looks for rooms using items like wall art, sofas, chairs, tables, plants, and more. This alone does not make the app unique: the interior design genre is a popular sub-genre within the simulation game category in today’s app stores, where competitors like Playtika’s Redecor, SayGames’ Decor Life – Home Design Game and Crowdstar’s Design Home: Dream Makeover can be found in the Top Charts.

Instead, where PLAYHOUSE sets itself apart from the rest is in both its technology and its partnerships.

The company allows users to drag and drop pieces into space, but also to move, rotate, resize, and even overlay items as they design the space in a much freer way than other games allow. Additionally, the company is working with real-life furniture brands to make their game items purchasable in real life.

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At launch, PLAYHOUSE features shopping experiences that connect gamers with brands including Arhaus, Article, 1stDibs, Chairish, One Kings Lane, ABC Carpet & Home, Jenni Kayne, Society6, Bloomscape, Room & Board, and Lulu & Georgia, among others. others. In other words, the goal of the game is not only to provide a creative outlet for fans of art and interior design, but also to encourage the discovery of new furniture and decoration.

Robin Games presents PLAYHOUSE, an interior design game that you can play and buy – TechCrunch playhouse shop

Image credits: robin games

Robin Games says that, at launch, there are over 6,000 pieces of real furniture and décor available from over 100 home design brands available within the app. Players can choose to purchase the actual items they are using to create their designs by visiting the retailer’s website.

This concept is somewhat like Pinterest’s new collage maker app, Shuffles, which allows its players to create custom art experiences using their own photos and Pinterest Pins. While the Shuffles app is primarily used as a creative tool before posting to TikTok or Instagram, the items that appear in the collages link to your Pin’s page on Pinterest, where they’re also connected to the retailer’s website and are can buy, similar to THEATER.

“One of the main reasons we wanted to do PLAYHOUSE, and ‘Lifestyle Games’ in general, is because we see a gap in the market for creative and truly expressive games,” Robin Games co-founder and CEO Jill told TechCrunch. Wilson. “It’s unusual to think of a game focused on interior design as a fantasy game, but we do: it’s a different kind of fantasy than what’s normally explored in games. Getting to design spaces with beautiful pieces as if you were an interior designer is a real-world fantasy for many people, and our company is dedicated to giving gamers that experience,” she added.

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Additionally, PLAYHOUSE users can submit their design projects for other players to rate, earning them tickets, coins, and gems, as well as other decoration pieces that help them level up. The company has also partnered with content creators, including design enthusiasts, artists, Airbnb hosts, and others to create limited-time “hosted projects” intended to inspire players’ own designs.

And it’s working with editorial publishing partners Condé Nast, Hearst (House Beautiful), Leaf Group (Hunker) and Design Milk, who will be active hosts creating design challenges and other inspirational content, the company says. House Beautiful, for example, will host a series of design challenges based on the articles you post on your website.

Robin Games presents PLAYHOUSE, an interior design game that you can play and buy – TechCrunch GqXyuGv0

Image credits: robin games

During its preliminary launch period, the team fine-tuned the game mechanics, game controls, onboarding experience, and economy of the game, which is a free-to-play game with in-app purchases. While you can progress without playing, players can choose to pay to unlock additional pieces with the gems they purchase rather than waiting to earn them in-game through achievements. Limited-time packs around a particular theme are also sometimes available for purchase, such as a special plant pack and plant-themed items that are only available in the pack.

So far, more than 1 million design challenges have been submitted, and the most devoted gamers have participated in each project released daily and stick with it for the long haul, says Wilson.

After its $7 million seed, Robin Games closed with a $14 million Series A in 2020 and continued to develop PLAYHOUSE in the following months. While being a female-led startup has given them an edge in a game marketed primarily to women, Wilson believes it’s the diversity of the team that will help it get ahead.

Robin Games presents PLAYHOUSE, an interior design game that you can play and buy – TechCrunch RvAJKgUk

Image credits: robin games

“I like to make games that I’d like to play myself, and I think surrounding myself with a diverse group of talented people who also want to play the game we’re making gives us the best chance of success,” explains Wilson. “At Robin Games, we have over 50% women on our board, management team and team at large, and the majority of our team members are passionate about design. Putting creative decision-making in the hands of potential gamers is the key to our authenticity and why we think true design lovers will love what we’ve made. While we anticipate that our audience will be primarily women, we have tried to make it as inclusive as possible and hope everyone who loves design will enjoy it,” she says.

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PLAYHOUSE is available today on iOS and Android as a free download.