San Diego Entrepreneur of the Week: Eugene Swank of Reward Spree
SD Entertainer is a huge fan and supporter of entrepreneurs in San Diego. We admire the dedication and long hours it takes to build and develop a successful business. Each week, the SD Entertainer sits down with one successful entrepreneur to discuss the goals, dreams, and plans for their company. This week, the SD Entertainer had the opportunity to speak with local entrepreneur Eugene Swank to talk about his latest project, Reward Spree.
Reward Spree is a revolutionary new video game platform where users can play games to win real-world prizes. Think of it like an arcade. You win tickets for playing games, and those tickets are redeemed for prizes. The prizes you win in the arcade are usually worthless (unless you have use for candy, shot glasses, key chains and whoopee cushions); with Reward Spree you can win prizes like gift cards and airfare. Just download a Reward Spree game, sign into your Reward Spree account, earn tokens and redeem prizes on their redemption site.
In a time where the video game industry, and mobile gaming in particular is so big, Reward Spree may just be the next big thing in gaming. The Reward Spree platform has spent two years in development and they just launched a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo.
Local entrepreneur, Eugene Swank, is the co-founder of the platform. He is a self-described serial entrepreneur and investor who has developed successful businesses with locations around the world. When we asked how he came up with the idea of Reward Spree, he said, “My son and I play video games together. After playing his favorite game for weeks, saving his tokens, he finally earned enough to buy a digital pizza. He sadly told me, ‘I wish I could eat this pizza.’ And I thought, why not?” And so Reward Spree was born.
With a background in software engineering and a love of gaming, Swank not only saw an opportunity to revolutionize the prize system in games, he also found a way to help other game developers to find a niche in the market.
The video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry where most of the profits go to the big studios. Indie developers have flocked to mobile gaming because it gives them a chance to develop a game relatively quickly. Developing a video game for the mobile platform has never been easier, but with such a large number of titles being added to the Apple, Android and Microsoft stores every day, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for the lone developer to stand out. Eugene Swank explains, “Reward Spree gives developers the tools needed to stand apart. We worry about the monetization and logistics while the developers focus on building an amazing game.”
Once the crowdfunding campaign is funded on IndieGogo, Swank and his team will focus on developing an API that can be utilized by programmers so more people will find and play their games. In the mean time, they are continuing development of their own game which is called Hipster Hustle.
As you’ve probably noticed, hipsters are all the rage. Hipster Hustle is a platformer adventure game developed by Reward Spree that will allow players to follow the quirky hipster character Zane as he embarks on a trip to the local record store. During his journey he is met with various challenges. Players must collect non fat, sugar free, skinny lattes to “power up” and stay on track. They will encounter interesting creatures, fight with bare fists, or enter a spontaneous dance battle.
The best thing about Hipster Hustle is that it will bring hours of guilt-free enjoyment because playing will allow you to earn tokens that can be redeemed for prizes.
To get in on the action and support this local entrepreneur build his business, check out Facebook or visit them on Facebook or Twitter. You can also visit www.rsdonate.com to make a contribution to the IndieGogo campaign. By doing so, you can get a number of great perks like a special edition of Hipster Hustle, t-shirts, and other swag.