Tampere (Finland), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), – RFID pacesetter SMARTRAC has officially opened its ‘Tap and Play – Global Experience Center’ in Tampere, Finland. Run in cooperation with industry leading partners like Cartamundi, NXP Semiconductors and Twinsprite, the facility is a unique, global knowledge center dedicated to the use of NFC technology in mobile gaming.
Mobile games will grow to account for one third of the global games industry in 2015, making it the games industry’s fastest-growing segment, according to Newzoo Research. The global mobile market reached $24.5 billion in 2014, following impressive growth rates of +33% and +57% for smartphones and tablets respectively. NFC technology is increasingly contributing to that development, as it bridges the gap between video and mobile games and the physical world in an effortless and exciting way. NFC-enabled physical toys and collectables can act as active elements in console and mobile gaming and extent authentic brand loop for licensed gaming merchandise.
Reflecting the market’s strategic importance
The SMARTRAC ‘Tap and Play – Global Experience Center’ emphasizes the strategic importance of the toy and gaming market. The center demonstrates latest technology and state-of-the-art use cases, the latter being focused on monetizing models for gaming. It features a demo installation of Twinsprite’s NFC toy management platform, plus several demos supplied by industry partners like Calm Island, Cartamundi, NXP, Parrot and others. During the ‘Grand Opening’ on May 26 the center also illustrates its secondary purpose, as professionals from all over the toy and gaming industry meet with independent game developers from Scandinavia, and not only, to share creative ideas and know-how.
Compelling offer for ‘gaming aficionados’
Mikko Nikkanen, Senior Director, Segment Industry, Electronics and Gaming at SMARTRAC, said: “NFC and mobile gaming are a perfect fit, so are Finland and independent game developers. These were good reasons for SMARTRAC to establish the world’s first knowledge center dedicated to the use of NFC technology for gaming purposes here in Tampere. We are very proud to be able to utilize our ‘Tap and Play – Global Experience Center’ as a focal point for professional ‘gaming aficionados’ from all over the world. Now it’s perfect time for creating the Internet-of-Toys!”
Prior to the official opening, representatives from SMARTRAC’s partners commented on the ‘Tap and Play – Global Experience Center’, the cooperation with SMARTRAC, and the importance of NFC for the future of gaming in general.
Steven Schoenmaekers, Vice President Games Manufacturing Services at Cartamundi Group, said: “For many years, Cartamundi has been using and developing innovative technologies that connect cards and games to digital devices. A younger, connected generation is looking for hybrid gaming experiences. That’s why NFC technology opens up a huge number of opportunities for card games, board games and trading card games. Together with SMARTRAC, we will continue to bring NFC technology to the games industry and create magical gaming experiences.”
Jacques Kruse Brandao, Director Business Development for Gaming at NXP, concluded: “We congratulate SMARTRAC for their approach to setup the first ‘Tap and Play – Global Experience Center’ in Tampere. Together, we are focusing on NFC thought leadership for the Toy and Games industry. As the leading supplier of chips for NFC applications, we are proud to support our partners and customers in developing the 'next big thing’ in gaming, as we see a great market opportunity in this prospering industry."
Unai Labirua, CEO of Twinsprite, emphasized the suitability of Tampere as the center’s location: “We are very excited to be part of the lively gaming community in Finland. Our thanks go to SMARTRAC for making the ‘Tap and Play – Global Experience Center’ possible. We are very happy to make our Twinsprite platform available to the game developer community to come up with exciting new NFC-equipped concepts. We would love everyone to test our joint NFC platform demo-kit here in Finland.”
SMARTRAC, with registered headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is the leading RFID technology company in the production of both ready-made and customized products and services. SMARTRAC makes products smart, and enables businesses to identify, authenticate, track and complement product offerings. The company’s portfolio is used in a wide array of applications: access control, animal identification, automated fare collection, automotive, border control, contactless payment, electronic product identification, industry, libraries and media management, laundry, logistics, retail, public transport, and many more. Leveraging its global R&D, production and sales network, SMARTRAC’s solutions combine physical products with digitally based services to empower the ecosystem of connected things.