while True: learn() game was released by the Skolkovo Innovation Center resident Luden.io. It’s a machine learning specialist simulator, where the player has to earn money for himself and his cat by working as a freelancer or startup CTO. In the game process the people learn gradually the context and basic principles of machine learning and programming.
The competitors with “learn-by-playing” vision like Swift Playgrounds by Apple, Minecraft Hour of Code, CodeCombat funded by Y Combinator are focused mainly on programming skills and not on machine learning. while True: learn() has law barriers of entry for new players as it’s visual programming system and people don’t have to write code. Also, the game showed a very high attention capture effect.
The earlier versions of the games were given for free. As a second step, the keys were offered using a Pay-What-You-Want model. The average price paid by the players was finally calculated as the price for the project.
Luden.io has outreached their own ambitions by the spectacular success of the game. Over the first night after the release was purchased for more than 10000$ by more people than Luden.io has expected for the whole spring. The game audience is about 20000 for now (United States 26%, Germany 11%, United Kingdom 8%, Russian Federation 7%, China 5%, Canada 4%, Japan 4%). At least 3 schools (Russia, UK, USA) already use the game in educational process. All leading Russian tech media have covered the success story of the new project. The considerable amount of players have registered for the Coursera machine learning courses or applied for the machine learning jobs afterwards.
Oleg Chumakov, Luden.io CEO: “We have found the Luden.io company so that in 20 years people were able to receive any profession or skill by playing an entertaining game and to find their calling from the early childhood, find something, that would be truly interesting for every person to do in their future lives. while True: learn() game is one of our first steps in this direction, and we had totally not expected such a blast on the release. Machine learning is a very mystified field of technology with a high entry barrier, which frightens a lot of people and does not allow them to make the first step. We are truly happy that our game helps people to finally make this move, keep interested in learning more and find a job as a machine learning specialist. We would like to thank our players for their involvement and daily assistance. Without them, nothing would have happened.“
Alexey Kalenchuk, head of VR and AR and gamification technology at the Skolkovo Foundation: “We often underestimate the degree of game penetration into our lives. Meanwhile, games have become a universal platform for any kind of activity: teamwork, creation, training, business skills and even artistic endeavors. According to various estimates, up to 50% of the modern economically active population have grown on computer games. Modern children play coding games and program the behavior of simple robots starting from 3-5 years. This is why we believe and support games that allow anyone easily to enter a new extremely difficult sphere, learn something for the first time or train for a new occupation. Gamification is a waste of time, as games are already eating the world.”
Web site: https://luden.io/wtl/
About the Skolkovo Foundation
The Skolkovo Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in September 2010 by the Russian government with the objective of accelerating Russia’s transformation from a resource-intensive to an innovation-based economy. To achieve this objective, the Foundation is overseeing the creation of the Skolkovo Innovation Center, composed of more than 1,800 high-tech startups, Skolkovo Technopark, the Skolkovo Institute of Technology (Skoltech) - a new graduate research University established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - and Skolkovo city, located near Moscow. Together, these entities establish a vibrant ecosystem of technology innovation and entrepreneurship. The cumulative revenue of Skolkovo’s startups reached $2,5 billion. They brought in more than $186 million in investment, creating 27,000 jobs and filing over 1,100 patent applications along the way. By 2020 over 2 million square meters of residential and office space will be built in Skolkovo with 35,000 people working daily in the Innovation Center. For more information: http://www.sk.ru/en
Luden.io is an independent game development company based in Limassol, Cyprus. The company is working on a new ways of mixing education and gaming as well as experimenting with AI and VR/AR devices. Luden.io raised a round of 1M$ funding on October 06, 2016 from Sistema Venture Capital. Luden.io was initially started as a R&D group at Nival. Nival's track record includes best-selling PC strategy games such as Blitzkrieg, Heroes of Might and Magic V, Silent Storm and Etherlords.