Kids Like Real Robots Best

Draw and Code's SwapBots
Draw and Code’s SwapBots

Like a lot of people, the sight of Star Wars’ little BB8 droid spinning around the big screen, assisting our heroes and flashing a flaming thumbs-up, got us wishing we had a little faithful droid all of our own.

A cool little character to play with and to fight our corner, but in the real world. Luckily Liverpool’s ever innovative, Draw & Code, are already on the case, bringing new toys to life and making them just for you.

Draw and Code’s ‘SwapBots’ are collectable toys that are awakened through the combined force of augmented reality and your smartphone or tablet and they’ve just won the backing of a £4m sector fund to help bring its augmented reality toy to market.

Draw and Code at the Tech North Northern Stars event.
Draw and Code at the Tech North Northern Stars event.

SwapBots co-founder John Keefe is excited about the possibilities the £4M UK Games Fund presents: “The support of the UK Games Fund will be invaluable to SwapBots from a funding perspective, but most importantly as validation of our unique approach to this emerging space within the gaming market.

“SwapBots are gaining real momentum now. We scooped a spot in the final of Tech North’s Northern Stars competition for the most promising new businesses and we were invited to be a part of the HAX Boost accelerator programme in San Fransisco, all coming hot off the heels of the UK Games Fund award. . It’s been an exciting few weeks”.

SwapBots were also successfully showcased at AWE2016 earleir this year, confirming thAT the game is unlike any other life toy. It’s Liverpool called into Draw and Code’s Hardman Street office and tore marketing manager Phil Charnock away from the game to A) Have a go ourselves and B) Learn more about these mashable little monsters. Phil told us the SwapBots score:

“They’re absolutely perfect for 21st century play…”

“SwapBots are collectible tech driven toys that are absolutely perfect for 21st century play. They bring the physical and digital together in one product, and they’re the kind of toy that everybody wants to play with.

Each SwapBot has three different body parts. The idea is that you can swap these parts with other player’s characters to gain different powers and see different stories unfold.

“This little robot can make the physical world much more than it is. We overlay digital content on top of it, so the SwapBots battle appears to take place in your living room. You don’t need any new technology. SwapBots use smartphones or tablets, tech that most people already have.”

In Awe
It takes some balls to go to AWE2016 and try and wow Silicon Valley. The world’s biggest augmented reality specialists await and they’re kind of at the top of their game.

Good job Liverpool’s Draw and Code have some serious stones. “We weren’t worried” said Phil Charnock, Draw and Code’s Marketing Manager. “It was our third time at AWE and they always really enjoy what we do. It was actually our best year yet. We we’re kind of the surprise hit. People just respond really well to SwapBots. They’re real crowd-pleasers.”

Draw and Code want the game to be as accessible as possible, with no fear of costly add-ons.

“Our SwapBots app is free and it doesn’t have any in-app purchases, so parents don’t need to be scared of their kids accidentally clicking a button and spending a lot of money.

For the first phase of the SwapBots launch, Draw and Code have released four prototype characters, but have ambitious plans for round two and are currently meeting with a number of potential investors.

“There’s huge scope for expansion. We want hundreds of figures, with thousands of possible combinations of bots that people can design themselves.

The creative team at Draw and Code were inspired by trading cards, top trumps, transformers, Pokemon and various video games, but they think SwapBots has something that other toys and games can’t compete with.

“We love Skylanders and Disney Infinity, but for us, they’re a little detached. You get your little toy character, but then leave in on your console while you get on with the real game.

“SwapBots is different. You look through the screen to see the physical and digital world’s combined. Your living room becomes the SwapBots battlefield. Other toy-to-life products don’t really do this.

Draw and Code Director John Keefe demonstrates SwapBots at AWE2016
Draw and Code Director John Keefe demonstrates SwapBots at AWE2016

“Little characters coming to life is something that appeals to everyone. People can play against their friends or with Swappers from all over the world.

“It’s such universal idea, we decided it was perfect to showcase at AWE2016. We can’t wait to see where SwapBots will take us next.

The It’s Liverpool team have tried SwapBots and we’re hooked. Or to put it another way, we think these are the droids you’re looking for.

Visit drawandcode.com and follow @drawandcode

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Published: 06/10/2016

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