Building the Game of Life

Young entrepreneur Seth Priebatsch is the “chief ninja” of Scvngr, a location-based game played in the real world. In 2008, he dropped out of Princeton to concentrate on his business, which he started while he was still enrolled at the university.

Priebatsch’s inspiration stemmed from his enjoyment of gaming and the outdoors. With the idea of translating gaming principles into the physical world, he created a mobile gaming demo with the help of a professor. The platform won Princeton’s business plan contest and Priebatsch was invited to work on it further at DreamIt Ventures’ incubator.

Priebatsch eventually named his project Scvngr. The reality-based mobile game can be played anywhere, from cafes and restaurants to gyms and parks. Players check in at locations to take on challenges, like solving a puzzle or snapping a photo. Each completed challenge is equivalent to a certain amount of points, and these points can be used to unlock real world rewards such as freebies and discounts at certain establishments. Anybody can add locations and challenges to the game.

The 23-year-old says that dropping out wasn’t actually that big a deal, and that he would have returned to school if Scvngr had not worked out. With the success of Scvngr, however, that won’t be happening anytime soon.

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