Ottawa gaming startup looks to tracking technology for first offering

Tracking technology could be the next big thing for mobile games, according to the co-founder of an Ottawa game design startup.

By Marc Shaw

“We’re looking at different trends in the market and it became obvious that traditional mobile sectors had been consistently disrupted through new offerings that were created by location based technologies,” said NextBigThing Studios co-founder James Don-Carolis, pointing at examples like Tinder and Uber. “I was looking at different sectors that could benefit from the integration of location technology and gaming just seemed obvious.”

Mr. Don-Carolis was showing off his studio’s game, Land of Heroes, at the Ottawa International Game Conference Art Expo Sunday.

Land of Heroes uses augmented reality technology, where a live direct or indirect view of a real environment is enhanced by computer-generated effects, including GPS data. With no established platforms specifically for AR, NBTS designed the game for cell phones and tablets.

It will be a free app that offers gamers opportunities for in-app purchases. The game is currently in beta testing with no launch date set.

NBTS was formed in 2014 and has its seeds firmly rooted at Carleton University. Shortly after the studio was formed, it was accepted into Carleton’s Hatch Incubator, a program Mr. Don-Carolis said is not getting enough attention.

“It's a hidden gem in the Ottawa entrepreneurship community. Nobody knows about it for some reason,” he said. “It gives Carleton University students in the ideation phase access to a little start-up cash and resources. The program takes on projects at a far earlier stage than most others and helps mature them and then acts as a feeder into other incubators.”

In 2015, NBTS entered the University of Ottawa’s Startup Garage where it won the Best Business Opportunity award.

The Startup Garage provided NBTS with work space at Invest Ottawa, and it still headquartered there. With a current headcount of three, NBTS is recruiting new talent as part of its growth plan.