The start of Tomi Vainikka’s and Jouni Jussila’s business culminates in the company’s name: Playmore Games. This is the mind-blowing idea that kickstarted everything.
Jouni Jussila, the CEO and one of the founders of Playmore Games, has always liked board games: so much so that he started designing his own board game. Meanwhile, Tomi Vainikka worked on his own board game idea elsewhere. When the men heard of each other’s activities, the idea of a joint project came up.
Discussions between the two soon led to the creation of Race to the North Pole. This, however, was just an initial stage of cooperation between the two men, and the invention of a mind-blowing business idea – DIZED.
THIS COULD REALLY TURN INTO SOMETHING!
In 2013, Jouni Jussila and Tomi Vainikka began to play about with the great idea of introducing a digital dimension to board games. The idea seemed fascinating and different. Soon, the two men began to explore whether this had already been done in the sector. They gained results through Googling and a closer mapping of the games industry, which added fuel to their project.
The men found out that a certain amount of digital material had already been applied to board games. As a result, the idea did not appear as something totally airy-fairy. In addition, the time seemed ripe for applications combining board games with something digital, as the digital dimension was a growing trend. Vainikka and Jussila had some mind-blowing moments. It seemed that the games industry could actually do some profitable business through the use of digitalisation.
– It felt like this could really lead to something, so we decided to give it a try.
The men got cracking with it. They set up a company and, inspired by the experts of the Science Park business accelerator, they ended up participating in the Start Me Up competition in 2014, as “it seemed pretty harmless”.
– In any case, we had to make a business plan, so it was easy to simultaneously write it down on the application form. In principle, you could only win – and, in the best case scenario, you could win money. For us, the experience was the most important thing.
Jussila and Vainikka certainly gained valuable experience from the Start Me Up competition. Through training in pitching, for example, the two men sharpened their business competence – and the business idea itself. It started to have more mind-blowing potential.
SPAR WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE
In autumn 2014, when Jouni Jussila and Tomi Vainikka visited the world’s largest game fair in Essen, Germany, they could see the games industry and its huge market in all its magnitude. It was only then that the men began to properly understand the true scale of the field in question. This sparked a thought: this was not a ‘toy business’, even if people unfamiliar with the field seemed to think so.
Talking to people who knew the games industry better led the two men to refine their business idea further. At the same time, they started having more faith in what they were doing.
– We noticed that people unfamiliar with the field had no idea that there was a market of about 10 billion dollars in the games industry. The board game industry was not regarded as a real market.
It was a mind-blowing moment when Jussila and Vainikka realised that game publishers and operators in the field were exactly the people they should spar with. After all, they were working on a product that would make games more playable and user-friendly.
– You should consider who to consult. If we had immediately trusted what the others said, we would probably have dropped our idea there and then.
SOLVE THE (BIGGEST) PROBLEM
Perhaps the most mind-blowing moment along the mutual journey of Jouni Jussila and Playmore Games was, however, when Jussila and Tomi Vainikka together realised something that led to the development of the DIZED application.
– Our original plan was to introduce a smart device into board games and create a broader game application that would contain fun additional content. The rule book tutorials were just one thing among others. However, after visiting game fairs and being involved in sparring with the world’s largest game manufacturers, we began to understand how big a problem the rulebook issue was.
The process of solving one big problem began to fascinate them more than working with some entertaining extra features. The rulebook was an actual bogeyman of game nights, and its ‘defeat’ benefited both game publishers and players. The men did some mental calculations: if approximately 5000 new board games were released annually in the world, it meant that huge numbers of people were getting aggravated with different rules every year. If the learning and gaming experiences of all these players could be improved through a single digital application, well, that would be pretty mind-blowing!
And so it was worthwhile to try and solve the problem. When the two men told board game enthusiasts about their upcoming application, it caused a real stir: many wondered why this had not been done earlier. The feedback added fuel to the fire. As a result of some mind-blowing ideas, an application called DIZED was created. Problem – Resolved.