Published On: Sun, Jun 20th, 2021

Snowman, a studio behind Alto’s Adventure and others, launches a kids app company, Pok Pok

Snowman, a tiny studio behind award-winning iOS games Alto’s Adventure, Alto’s Odyssey, Skate City and others, is spinning out a new company, Pok Pok, that will concentration on educational children’s entertainment. Later this month, Pok Pok will entrance a initial title, Pok Pok Playroom, directed during moving artistic meditative by play for a preschool crowd.

The launch takes Snowman behind to a roots as an app maker, not a games studio.

In fact, a company’s initial iOS app, Checkmark, had been in a capability space, charity location-based reminders to iPhone users. But Snowman after shifted to creation games, drumming into a direct for mobile games with early launches like Circles and Super Squares. But it wasn’t until Alto’s Adventure came out that Snowman unequivocally kicked off a incursion into gaming.

“We’ve never unequivocally deliberate Snowman to be a video diversion studio,” explains Snowman co-founder and artistic executive Ryan Cash. “A lot of people would assume that since it’s unequivocally all that we’re famous for during a moment. It’s kind of a core business. But we like to consider of ourselves some-more as like a organisation of tinkerers who like operative on artistic stuff. And for now, it happens to be video games, though we never know kind of what competence be around a corner,” he says.

Image Credits: Snowman

Pok Pok indeed emerged from Snowman’s enlightenment of tinkering.

Snowman employees Mathijs Demaeght and Esther Huybreghts, now Pok Pok pattern executive and artistic director, respectively, went looking for an app to perform their immature son James when he was a toddler. They shortly found that there weren’t many options that fit what they had been anticipating to find.

They had wanted something that wouldn’t rile him up, something that wasn’t too technical and something that wasn’t gamified, Esther explains.

When they after had their second son, Jack, they motionless to usually build a app they wanted for themselves. After display a severe antecedent to Ryan, he saw a intensity and told them to run with it.

Ryan’s sister, Melissa Cash, whose credentials was in building products during Disney for babies and toddlers, had been assisting with a Alto’s Odyssey launch during a time. When she saw what Esther and Mathijs were operative on, she was impressed.

Image Credits: Snowman

“I’ve worked in a child space for 5 years, and I’ve never seen anything that’s even remotely like this. And then, we usually knew this is what we wanted to work on for a subsequent 20 years,” she says. Melissa became concerned with a devise and is now CEO of a Pok Pok spinout.

Although legally a particular entity, Pok Pok stays closely tied to Snowman.

“We’ve been incubating a association within Snowman. We changed desks to a dilemma and we all work together as mentor, colleagues, and combine as a group,” Melissa notes. Ryan is still involved, as well. “Ryan is all — a advisor, a supporter — we haven’t even come adult with a pretension for him,” she adds.

Today, a Pok Pok organisation is 6 full-time employees, though works with contractors and educators on a projects. Snowman, meanwhile, is over 20 people, mostly in Toronto. However, some Snowman employees spend 30% to 50% of their time on Pok Pok, Ryan says.

For a time being, Pok Pok is self-funded interjection to Snowman’s success on other fronts, that not usually includes a Alto’s series, though also Apple Arcade’s Where Cards Fall and Skate City, both of that are now expanding to PC and console. The association is also operative on DISTANT, a partnership with Slingshot and Satchel.

Pok Pok Playroom, that is directed during kids ages dual to six, will be a initial pretension to go live from Pok Pok, nearing on May 20. The app itself will primarily enclose 6 “digital toys,” so to speak, that inspire kids to creatively play. These toys also grow with a child as they age up.

For example, a stacking blocks fondle could interest to toddlers who usually wish to pierce a shapes around, though an comparison child competence build a city with them. A sketch fondle can inspire scribbles during younger ages or turn a genuine board for art when a child is older. There’s also a relaxing fondle called “musical blobs” that’s arrange of like a lava flare with differently made blobs that rebound around and respond to touches.

All a toys are designed to be open-ended — there’s no right or wrong proceed to use them. And Pok Pok Playroom is not a game. There are no levels to kick or objectives to achieve. There’s zero to buy.

What is opposite about Pok Pok Playroom, compared with games and “digital toys” from rivals like Toca Boca, for example, is that it’s designed to be some-more educational and realistic.

“We take a some-more educational approach, and we still devise to do that for destiny apps and for whatever Pok Pok Playroom will grow into after launch,” says Esther. “For example, we have no unicorns or no wizards in Pok Pok Playroom. Everything is grounded in reality. we consider we wish to try with children what a universe looks like and how it works. We have tons of ideas for holding a some-more education-based proceed for all a children, as well, that isn’t indispensably a ABCs, 1,2,3’s pedagogical, so to speak.”

Image Credits: Snowman

Pok Pok also won’t use articulate animals or anticipation characters in sequence to equivocate a theme of diversity. Instead, a apps will facilities all races, all genders, all family constructs, all opposite sorts of abilities and disabilities, as they’re built.

“I consider it’s unequivocally critical to us to have kids be means to commend themselves, and family members and friends in a app,” says Esther. “It’s unequivocally critical to a whole organisation that everybody feels reputable in who they are and what their family looks like, and… we consider that’s still unequivocally lacking in a child space right now. We wish to be a front-runner there,” she notes.

The new app, that has been in growth for scarcely 3 years, will be labelled on a subscription basis, with some-more “digital toys” combined over time.

VCs see opportunities for gaming infrastructure startups and incumbents

Though Pok Pok will aim some-more during a preschool crowd, a association envisions a destiny where it designs artistic projects for a subsequent age organisation adult and for other forms of learning.

Pok Pok Playroom has been beta tested with around 250 families forward of a launch.

It will be accessible on iPhone and iPad starting on May 20 during 9 a.m. ET, with a 14-day giveaway trial. It will afterwards be labelled during $3.99 per month or $29.99 per year, and will not underline in-app purchases.


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