Anyone who recalls the video clip that spread like wildfire by email and DVD of a local man who becomes a self-styled GAA commentator that went on to possibly inspire acts such as the D’Unbelievables will be delighted to know that the character has been brought back to life by Dublin games firm Eirplay. The company plans to use the character in ringtones and mobile games in a bid to knock the annoying Crazy Frog off his perch.
Eirplay, which is based at Dublin’s Digital Hub, is headed by Peter Lynch who previously worked with Vivendi Universal Games across all the major games platforms. He established the company in 2002 to focus on the then emerging ‘casual gaming’ and the non-console gamer market, covering areas such as web games, mobile games and interactive TV.
The company’s sports games regularly feature in the top 10 mobile games worldwide and a recent game called Fantasy Football that the company developed for website Football365.com is the first multiplayer game available in Ireland and the UK on mobile. Another game, Rugby Dropkick is among the top 10 facing games in New Zealand.
“Our main focus is on sports games for mobile and we are in talks with mobile operators, content providers and web brands as well as online advertisers.”
Lynch told siliconrepublic.com that the company has signed a deal with the original man who sparked the local GAA commentator email and DVD craze in the Nineties. Under the terms of the contract, he said, the character’s real identity cannot be revealed.
The Crazy Frog killer that the company will market virally online and by mobile in the form of ringtones and sports games will be an ape-like character called ‘Ogie’ who will commentate on sports alongside fictional representations of real-life sports commentators such as Eamonn Dunphy.
“We looked at the Crazy Frog phenomenon and wanted to come up with a character and voice that would represent an Irish voice and a competitor to Crazy Frog,” explains Lynch.
“A lot of people would have seen that DVD in the Nineties where this local guy launches into a commentary on a local GAA match. We contacted him and asked for his permission to use his voice and Ogie was born. We’ll be doing a lot more with him in terms of animation, ringtones, games and multimedia messaging. There are about 100 different product lines that we will base on the Ogie character. By next summer we expect to increase this to 200 products across different media platforms.”
In terms of overseas opportunities for Ogie, Lynch says that mobile media distributors in the UK, for example, loved the character which will be targeted largely at the Irish ex-pat community who are passionate about sports. “There is also the opportunity to localise Ogie for other international markets because the sports pundit is an international phenomenon. It should work abroad if we find the right voice forum for him. Hopefully, you’ll be driven mad by the Ogie character.
“With the success of the Fantasy Football game, we will be looking to possibly set up another development team focusing on mobile multi-player and 3G games. As well as this we will be exploring opportunities to raise venture capital finance to take Eirplay to the next level,” Lynch concluded.
By John Kennedy