Foxie: changing visitor experiences with urban games
Transforming visitor experiences by making the world a playground is the mantra of the creators of the Foxie company. Created in 2017 by 3 fans of travel and Escape Game who wanted to offer travelers an original and independent support combining visit and game, Foxie was first created through the development of the eponymous application (on iOS & Android) and now offers games and visits (treasure hunts, fun walks, treasure hunts or “urban games”) on smartphones, in more than 15 cities and 3 countries. “Visit liberated, discover cunning”.
From sightseeing experiences to urban play
Aimed at a public of urban visitors, eager to discover the cities via discovery paths and stronger visit experiences, the application has evolved according to its uses: first as a cultural mediation support for monuments (the château de Valençay, the château de Pierrefonds (Centre des monuments nationaux) based on the model of the British museum, the offer was then expanded by partnering with companies:
- In order to promote their know-how to a tourist and local public: games with the RATP to promote tourism through 100% electric buses)
- By accompanying Team-Building activities
- And more recently, by proposing games on private corporate events: Le Fil Orange, for the inauguration of the Orange France headquarters in the manner of Epsilon, whose interview we recently did.
This diversification of the application’s uses echoes the needs of different audiences, who have understood the interest of gamification and wish to offer immersive experiences, and change the way they visit by making it more interactive.
Visiting experiences: how does Foxie implement the different projects?
The implementation of a project requires coordination between authors-designers and the technical part. While the authors will propose a story, design the journey and interface with the client, Foxie will intervene on the application aspect.
Game authors and designers
Foxie is in partnership with different game designers or creators (among them Anima, Divenement, Enigm’Amiens, La Mue Events).
The launch of a project always begins with an exploratory meeting with the client. The process consists in identifying the objectives and problems inherent to the project, and in building a story and a universe. Le processus consiste à identifier les objectifs et les problèmes inhérents au projet, et à construire une histoire et un univers. This is followed by a phase of physical location, where the story line and the different stages will be built by the authors, in collaboration with the Foxie team.
This is followed by the writing and integration work in the application, and multiple tests with profiles representative of the target before providing a final version to the client.
Depending on the client’s wishes, and his desire to create a game that is more or less immersive, the author-designer chooses to incorporate game mechanics. This process sometimes involves the intervention of a graphic designer or a video production company.
The author-designer can also propose to complete the game with “physical” interactions (e.g. chests, objects to manipulate, a door behind a curtain to access a room dedicated to the game) to create a surprise effect and bring more immersion.
Digital creation tools
The technology, managed within Foxie, offers a solution for creating digital games via a platform, which acts as an interface for designing the courses, testing them and publishing them. It allows you to configure different types of steps such as geolocation, image recognition, video calls, questions and answers, etc.
During the first exploratory meeting with the client, a Foxie project manager identifies the client’s technical needs. If new features are needed, it determines the feasibility and cost.
During the identification phase, he accompanies the authors to identify all the elements that could constitute the pathway. It points out possible difficulties and recommends the use of options depending on the location. The validation of the course is done via the platform, and the technical team performs an initial quality control to determine whether the player can actually play completely independently.
Finally, during the test phases, the project manager comes to test the quality of the game to ensure that a typical audience will be able to enjoy it, that all the technical issues have been resolved (Example: image recognition possible in light conditions)
The success of the application lies in the multitude of uses that can be made of it. As explained above, the application serves as a support for several destinations, self-guided tourist visits, accompaniment during a guided tour, private corporate events, urban visits, it also addresses a very wide audience. For this reason, and in order to always be as close as possible to the wishes of the customer and the users, the solution has been adapted to several problems and uses:
- For remote places, underground or with very thick walls (as often in medieval castles), an offline mode has been developed.
- For companies, and the creation of tailor-made and specific events, the implementation of a “secret” mode accessible only if you have the code and are an insider.
- For the clients who market the games (monuments and tourist offices), a single-use coupon system (marketable at ticket offices) has been integrated.
- For museums, when a work has been moved, it is now possible to update a set easily
In fact, Foxie operates on several types of models:
- in BtoB sectors:
- via a license to use the Foxie platform for those who wish to create their own games (team-building agencies or monuments/sites that have the resources in-house to design their games).
- via a custom game design service, in partnership with their network of author-designers.
- in BtoC sectors:
- by marketing, to the general public, some of the games created by the author-designers. Games available on the website.