Inspired by Booyah’s MyTown, is an interesting LBS social game start-up that aims to entertain users by getting them to make their real world virtual. It’s a pretty far out concept that is somewhat hard to grasp, but that is the interesting thing with LBS, people are starting to experiment with the possibilities between connecting the on and offline world. Starting in January 2010, 16Fun now has around 40,000 users across iPhone and Android and is funded by Legend Capital.

It works like this – imagine a Google map. Now turn that map into a cartoon like 2D world. Now depending on your location detected by your smart phone’s GPS, let’s say Sanlitun in Beijing, you can create real world POI’s (places of interest) e.g. The Village inside the game. Like the board game Monopoly you became the landlord and can start earning rent from other people that check-in to your place. As you collect more money you can buy virtual goods and supplies to enhance your property like wood or glass. Also like the real world users can steal and destroy other people’s property to drive up their ranking. You can achieve status in the game by doing certain things. For instance, ‘Traveller’ is someone who creates the most unique types of places and ‘Investor’ is someone who creates the most valuable places. Since users are playing in different locations, as more and more users join and create more POI’s, the 16Fun land will grow and connect, kind of like Sim Cities. Another cool idea with 16Fun is converting real life events into the game. For example, if a big storm happened in real life, the world of 16Fun would also experience the same catastrophe, damaging property hence forcing people to re-build their property.

Founder Jason Liu, shared that Chinese users enjoy interactivity between each other. They like to get to know each other and see what other people are doing. Most of 16Fun’s users are girls because they love the cute graphics and also students. 16Fun plans to reach out to students at universities like Tsinghua, encouraging them to build places like a big cafeteria in the game and become the landlord. Liu said some users are already addicted to the game and set their alarms to wake up and play the game.

In the future Jason would like to monetize 16Fun by getting real businesses involved in the game, e.g. Starbucks can build their brand into the game by creating virtual stores and attract users to check-in for points and discounts perhaps. But before they can get to that stage, 16Fun needs to dramatically grow its user base and Liu said their aim is for 150,000 users by June. Liu says user feedback is useful for guiding where they want the game to go. For example one future feature is an auction house, where users can post virtual goods to buy and sell. They are also in talks with Sina Weibo to sync 16Fun actions to make it more social.

As a passionate gamer, Jason is determined to make his game better and better and more fun for users. If 16Fun sounds interesting to you, try it out!

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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