Two young Melbourne tech entrepreneurs have tapped into one of the most potentially valuable markets in the online world – all because of their love of footy. Charles Noble and Bao-Minh Tran-Vo, both 27, are the creators of BigFooty Coach – the first AFL game to be available on Facebook http://apps.facebook.com/bigfootycoach/
The fantasy AFL game has seen explosive growth since launching a new version earlier this year, with the number of users passing the 10,000 mark in June of this year. Sales globally from virtual goods sold over facebook are expected to reach figures of $14 billion by 2016 and these two lads want in on the action!
The game, which is the first one from their company c8apps [their Aussie tech startup company] allows users to pick a team of real life players and coaches, from both the past and present, to play simulated matches against other users on Facebook. Every team that wins is awarded prize money and the goal is to build the best team possible. The gameplay is all year round because it is not dependent on live week to week results.
The game has the potential to reshape the way footy fans engage with one another and the sport.
“We just wanted to play an AFL game with our friends who lived around Australia,” says Noble, who first spotted the opportunity for a social footy game two years ago.”We would all talk about it on Facebook and it was one of those cliche Eureka moments where we pieced the two together,” he says.
The pair spent the next eight months building a prototype, basing the game on similar fantasy sports titles in the US and Europe that have proved highly popular on Facebook and highly lucrative for their creators.
Over that time the IT graduates devoted their tech knowledge and passion for Aussie Rules to developing the game.
“We knew we were onto something, for months we made a lot of sacrifices and slept very little. The overwhelmingly positive response from our users made the sacrifices worth it,” Tran-Vo says.
But getting a good product out in the online marketplace for a small tech startup hasn’t been without its challenges, and at one point the pair found themselves handing out thousands of flyers to fans at the MCG.
A partnership with the hugely popular AFL forum BigFooty.com has spurred on the game’s success and the pair are now seeking investment to help make an iPhone and Android mobile version of the game.
Keep an eye on these two blokes, they are pretty switched on, and I think we are only just seeing the tip of the iceberg with what they want to do.