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Engaging gamers for Ellen.

Beyond her epic dancing, Ellen is known for her easy, warm rapport with her audience and guests. As she started to create digital experiences, it was essential that the games reflect Ellen’s ability to bring people together, instead of burying them in their phones. With this objective in mind, we worked with The Ellen Show to design and develop Psych!, a multi-player game that merges the solo passion of gaming with the natural desire to spend time with family and friends.

Making players the priority.

Working with The Ellen Show, we crafted a strong user experience that would empower game leaders and engage multiple players. In development, we made it a priority to keep gameplay simple so, like The Ellen Show itself, the game would be enjoyable across generational and demographic divides.

Crafting a social experiment.

We conducted extensive consumer research to discover that more than half of consumers preferred to play simple, “bite-sized” digital games with family and friends, especially games that promote the most togetherness.

Charging ahead of the game.

By combining the long-standing brand power of Ellen with the dawn of social gaming, Psych! quickly became an App Store Editor’s Choice. It currently has over 3 million downloads and continues to stand out as a game that makes family and friend gatherings less painful and more fun.

Translating Heads Up! for Android.

Expanding on the huge success of Heads Up!, we worked with The Ellen Show to develop the game experience for Android users. It was tantamount to maintain gameplay integrity while bending to the core behaviors of Android users. We did this by developing different gestures, design elements, and aspect ratios that could work across hundreds of different Android devices, no matter their processors or display capabilities.

Learnings

Navigating
crowd control.

Because ease of connectivity for multiple devices was essential, we had to scrap utilizing Bluetooth or wireless and instead opt for PubNub, a messaging service that could instantly connect multiple users.

Embracing
trial & error.

Structured gameplay trials were necessary to examine the correct nuances for sound, game rounds, and interactions.

Believing in
the fans.

With Ellen as the chief brand advocate, showcasing and playing Psych! on her show, we discovered there’s nothing more powerful than a built-in, devoted fan base to drive a game’s success.