Playwell AS – eSports and Gaming

In 2017, when the Playwell project was awarded STUD-ENT funding, the team consisted of Constandino Leiva (30) and Sjur Hovi (24). The project is affiliated with the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL). Constandino Leiva founded both Beyond the Summit, an eSports company run by an HVL student group, and GG Bergen, a non-profit organisation with the goal of operating a social gaming arena. Sjur Hovi has seven years of professional experience working in primary school and with a school after-care programme.

What is the customer problem and how can it be solved?

Many parents are finding it increasingly difficult to coax children and adolescents out of their rooms, and are worried about social isolation. Much of this concern is rooted in the fact that the younger generation now spends a decreasing amount of time interacting face-to-face with others. Municipal activity programmes are no longer as successful in providing what young people are looking for. Playwell meets these challenges by delivering tailored social gaming packages with instructors, equipment and entertainment to local communities. This has provided a successful platform for engaging and integrating game-playing members of this age group.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship and Playwell?

Those of us involved in the project have many years of experience working with social gaming and the youth segment. In a society where children are spending increasingly more time at home alone in front of a screen, there is a need for measures to promote their social development. We believe it is crucial that such efforts are based on the interests of members of this age group and carried out within a framework designed to meet their needs.

What will support from the Research Council mean for you?

Initially, the funding will ensure that we can invest in the necessary equipment and focus on working full-time on the project. This gives us the financial means to conduct tests and pilot projects together with our pilot groups. The funding from the Research Council will allow us to initiate our research collaboration with HVL, which will provide a scientific foundation for our service.

What knowledge does the project build on and how is HVL involved?

The project builds on many years of volunteer work and organising social gaming activities for young people. This is combined with research on how to use technology to promote social interaction and build relations within this age group. We will be working together with HVL to develop games and tailored social gaming activities. We are seeking to identify the games and related activities to create an arena that facilitates integration and social interaction among young people, while also providing them with a feeling of mastery and a sense of belonging.