Recently I wrote about the steps GameTruck is taking to address COVID-19, and to provide celebration options for families. This week I want to dig a little deeper into our newest offering, GameTruck @HOME. Specifically, I want to talk about GameTruck @HOME feature the Nintendo Switch.
What is GameTruck @HOME?
Believe it or not, GameTruck @HOME goes back to 2017. Nintendo launched the Switch on March 3, 2017 and thanks to a long-standing partnership with Nintendo, the team at GameTruck had early access to the console. The operations team, headed by Brandon Wiele, immediately saw the potential to create a new kind of video game party. While GameTruck has proven to be incredibly popular, the game trailer has one, at times glaring constraint. You can’t take it inside.
When GameTruck shows up, the game trailer is the event. However, we often get requests for GameTruck to be a part of a larger celebration. Integrating the game trailer into a largely indoor event often creates a disjointed experience as gamers have to go outside (typically into a parking lot) to play. Since the Nintendo Switch is completely self-contained, supports adhoc WIFI (more on that in a second), and every unit has its own screen we suddenly saw the opportunity to create a completely self-contained mobile video game event that could easily go inside.
This would be perfect for event planners and meeting professionals who wanted to add a little game play to their meetings, catered events, or conferences. We called that product Gameplex. With the rise of COVID-19 and the associated security limitations however, the team at GameTruck in partnership with our franchise owners launched GameTruck @HOME, a contactless party option that allows us to drop off a case of sanitized consoles and then pick them up. No direct human interaction necessary.
Yeah, but what is it?
GameTruck @Home is a turnkey celebration delivered to your home, that you can hold in your home, garage, or back yard. (You have the option to have the event managed for you by one of our professional game coaches).
We deliver 10 ready-to-play Nintendo Switches in a single convenient case to your doorstep. Nine of these units are configured for individual play, with the 10th unit suitable for individual play or being hooked up to a TV using the included docking station for some big screen action.
COVID, or no COVID, GameTruck @HOME does give players fundamentally a different experience than a game trailer.
What Makes the GameTruck @HOME Special
While it is somewhat obvious, it takes a second to realize that the video game experience with GameTruck @HOME is radically inclusive because every player gets their own system. What’s more, every system is loaded with every title which means, at any moment, groups of players can dynamically form new multiplayer groups, or flow from game to game without waiting for a copy of the game, or a specific screen to become available.
Want to play some Mario Kart? Bang. Everyone has that game.
Want to play Animal Crossing and visit each other’s islands? Everyone has that game.
What’s more all the challenge of creating accounts, swapping friend codes, it has all been done already. The units are ready to play.
What makes GameTruck @HOME special is what I call zero friction gaming. Everything you and your friends need to play together is at your fingertips.
Zero Friction Gaming
While there is no substitute for the GameTruck video game trailer and its awesome “wow factor”, GameTruck @HOME delivers a different kind of experience, one that is subtle, flexible, and exclusive. When anyone can play any game at any moment without waiting, your event becomes like a digital playground. They can curl up in the basement, sitting around in a circle playing safely – they can head outside and play on the porch. The gaming goes where the people go. This means there is no resistance to play. No waiting. You just play.
No Internet Required
One of the magic features of the Nintendo Switch, which even today many people do not know about, is that it supports a form of networking called “Adhoc Wireless”. Imagine the Internet is the post office. Typically, an application puts together a “packet” and sends it out via wireless to “the internet”. Special computer called Domain Name Servers act as a post office and route these packets to the other players consoles and computers.
What does this have to do with the Nintendo Switch? Adhoc wireless is like passing notes in school. The consoles can simply talk to each other directly. There is no need to go to the internet. There is no reason to contact a server. If everyone is in the same space, the machines will share with each other directly forming their own private network.
This means everyone gets their own console and Everyone can play together.
Just you and your friends gaming
When you look some of the games included with GameTruck @HOME like:
- Mario Kart 8
- Super Mario Party
- Animal Crossing
- Super Smash Bros Ultimate
- Splatoon 2
You can begin to see what an incredible experience adhoc gaming can be. There is no waiting for lobbies, no split screen, and no one outside your private group barging in.
No Mess, No Fuss, Just the Best
At the end of the day GameTruck @HOME benefits from more than 15 years of experience GameTruck owners have helping people play together. The unique experience of the Nintendo Switch, when everyone has their own system, designed to connect to each other and share creates a new kind of in person experience that in truth, harkens back to why I created GameTruck in the first place. I wanted to play the best games with my best friends. In 2005 during prototyping, we played Mario Kart Double Dash on the Nintendo GameCube and we thought it was the greatest thing ever. Everyone had their own system and their own screen. The trouble was you needed a living room to pull that off. So that is what I built, a traveling living room to hold the consoles and their TV’s.
Thanks to Nintendo the paradigm has shifted, and we can bring this amazing experience into your living room, into your home, your basement, your backyard. Anywhere you, your children, and their friends want to play. The flexibility, portability, and connectivity is truly remarkable.
At the end of the day, GameTruck is not about trucks, and trailers, or suitcases full of equipment. I formed GameTruck to help us celebrate the special occasions in our lives with our close family and friends. I wanted to make it easy for people to play video games with their best friends when it mattered most. When we play together, we stay together. Playing together is bonding together. They say neurons that fire together, wire together. I believe that human connection follows a very similar path. As one our game coaches, Simon, said not long ago:
If you find something that makes you happy, reaching out to others to share that happiness makes for easy friendships.
And ultimately, that’s what GameTruck @HOME delivers. A chance to share happiness and make friends.