How Gamers Play the Game of Luv
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because you might just score more than points.
By Leslie Nguyen-Okwu
You know the feeling: heart pounding, sweat beading and butterflies darting. But it’s not just courting a new boo that has the power to elicit this visceral range of sensations; squashing potential suitors in humiliating defeat can also do the job. Candy crushing just took on a whole new meaning.
With Yogrt, all’s fair in love and war. This free mobile dating app uses not swipes or scrolls to search for hotties but, instead, games and trivia as “tools to navigate the social arena around you,” says Jason Lim, the CEO of Kongko Digital, the Singapore-based company that developed Yogrt. Think a guy is cute but not sold on dinner yet? Challenge him to a rousing match of Beat Penguin or duke it out over Busy Cowboy. Both games are part of a rotation that changes weekly. Here, the ultimate goal isn’t merely a high score but also swooning a suitor with those nimble fingers.
Going head-to-head in a mobile game can help couples digitally bond.
Launched in 2014, Yogrt has 700,000 registered users in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. And why not? The mobile-game market in this region of 600 million people will reach $7 billion by 2019, according to Frost & Sullivan, a consulting firm based in California, while the global mobile-dating market will swell to $2.3 billion this year. It’s not hard to see why, when Yogrt decided to marry the two, investors from Centurion Private Equity and Linear Ventures offered up $3 million in seed funding. This year, the tiny team of developers aims to take on the rest of Southeast Asia with their 21st-century, geekified approach to love.
And actually, going head-to-head in a mobile game can help couples “digitally bond,” says Julie Spira, a digital matchmaker for the tech-savvy. Still, she says, countless people simply want to “swipe up, left, right and down in split seconds on a profile.” These are the ones who crave instant gratification, so an app like Yogrt won’t be part of their repertoire. That and the pool of potential suitors is small compared to other dating-app juggernauts on the market.
Enough stalling. It’s time to find out if you truly have game.