Think about your first mobile phone. If you already could play games on it, chances are it didn’t get more advanced than Snake, Pinball, or Breakout. It wasn’t until the introduction and early adoption of more powerful smartphones that mobile games turned into the goose with the golden eggs of the games industry.
The story of Sabine Allaeys and the creation of her mobile game universe MiniFizz kicks off way before that.
“Back in 2004 telecommunication companies were looking to grow their data business, and mobile games were a big part of that. It’s very easy to understand that 1 in 2 users are female, and the female market had always been underserved in terms of games and game characters. So there was this opportunity to come up with something new, a universe with girl avatars. Stylish and smart at the same time.”
Encouraged by her engineer father, Allaeys was introduced to computers and technology from an early age, and as such always wanted to express her creativity through the use of cutting edge technology. Research at the time showed that the market payed attention to what girls liked and the fact they now had a mobile device on them suddenly turned them into an interesting target group for companies. “For me it was clear there was an opportunity to launch a universe with girl avatars more adapted to real girls and not the typical female heroines featured in male oriented games. And the way to do it was through mobile games.”
To create a believable world and avatars, Allaeys made sure that her universe could be read on several layers. It had to be fun to engage with on a superficial level, but also have the ability to inspire and empower young girls.
Even though MiniFizz was picked up internationally and distributed throughout North America and Europe, the public at the time wasn’t as ready as the industry. Again, this is still a couple of years before Steve Jobs would introduce the world to the iPhone. Looking back on it now, it was quite a pioneering adventure.
A creative entrepreneur at heart, Allaeys took her universe more multi-channel in later years, expanding it to a mix of gaming, e-commerce and online community, where girls could play around with real fashion they could actually buy. But even in the crowded mobile space of the present day, she doesn’t see anything like MiniFizz out there. While her current focus is the creation of online animated explainer videos, she says she still has a warm heart for a good gaming universe. “I believe a next generation will be so used to have their gaming universe as a starting point for a lot of activities, that selling fashion from an avatar in your pocket, combining input from friends and info from brands still makes sense.”