Our game has been live for almost a year now (August 2013). We have designed it to be completely free to play (no hidden fees anywhere, we swear...) and, to keep adding new innovative features, we now need your support! We are excited to tell you more about our story right below, and do not forget to take a look at our cool rewards :)
Nowadays, the Fantasy Football industry is dominated by large non-gaming corporations, which often happen to be well-known and popular newspapers, especially in the UK.
Since they naturally have a large community, these corporations do not necessarily bother about improving their users' gaming experience. Most companies offer simplistic games that are entertaining enough, with, sometimes, prizes to win.
Well, as natural sports fans, we were not very satisfied with our overall experience on these sites. They were supposed to allow you to jump into a manager seat and demonstrate that you should be the one coaching Manchester United right now (OK, that was easy), but the following points specifically bothered us:
- Only one football league featured (mainly the English Premier League)
- Very few football statistics used (from 5 to 15) to calculate players' performances
- No live interaction during the real football matches
- Rewards offered on a monthly or yearly basis
Why only limit our game to one country and one football league? Messi and Ronaldo play in Spain. Rooney, Özil, Agüero, Suárez play in England. Balotelli, Pirlo, Kaká play in Italy. Ribéry, Müller, Lewandowski play in Germany. Ibrahimović, Thiago Silva, James Rodríguez play in France...You get our point.
Allowing you to choose players from the five major European Leagues reflects the internationalization of the sport (Bosman Act anyone? 1995?). It also truly rewards the best football follower, and not just one who only knows a lot about the English Premier League.
The cornerstone of our game. Fantasy Football games are very, very similar in the way they calculate and compile football players' statistics. Their scoring system include 5 to 15 football stats (the most common ones being goal scored, goal assist, clean sheet, yellow and red cards). No need to be Sir Alex Ferguson to understand that it is far from being enough to realistically evaluate a player's true performance on the field.
Football is a complex sport (it is one of the reasons it is so fascinating). Therefore, after long months studying all the potential statistics to integrate, we came to the conclusion that we had to include 70 football stats into our scoring system to be as close as possible to football reality. To do so, we also had to specifically weigh each statistic, depending on a football player's position on the field (for example, a defender who scores a goal will receive more points than a striker).
We therefore started working with a team of statisticians in the fall of 2012. Their (heavy) tasks were to crossroad statistics from the five European leagues from the past three years with rankings (team and individual) and analysis from specialized media. This intense work of compiling data allowed us to find the best way to balance each statistic based on any player's position.
9 months of intense data crunching later, we were the happy daddies of a scoring system composed of 280 criteria (70 * 4), and the first Fantasy Football which could legitimately claim to be a true skill game. You'll find below a snapshot of a dozen of our statistics included in our scoring system. We didn't want to knock you down by showing you all 70 here, but the whole is available on our website if you want to take a deeper look at them!
Two things to keep in mind:
- We do believe our scoring system is currently the closest to football reality in our industry. However, we believe that there is always room for improvement
- We keep monitoring it every week and plan on expanding/editing it within the next few months (with your help!)
On Oulala, you can now manage your team live during real football matches.
Imagine a scenario where Ronaldo, one of your starters, is playing on Saturday evening and, for once, he seems to be having a bad game (only scoring twice in 45 minutes).
You are watching Real Madrid's match on TV and you feel like you'd rather remove him from your team and swap him for Rooney, who is on your substitutes' bench (pretty solid bench). Rooney is scheduled to play for Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. Therefore, if you sub out Ronaldo at the 69th minute, Rooney will then start to earn points for your team at the 70th minute of his own match, on Sunday afternoon.
Your substitutes will therefore earn you points only if you bring them onto the field: managers who closely follow their players' performances during real matches will have more information to make modifications to their team accordingly.
Just like any real football managers, you are allowed to make three substitutions during each Oulala day.
In addition to being able to swap players, you will also be able to change your team formation. You started the weekend with a very careful 5-4-1 Mourinho-style, and you feel like switching to a super-offensive 3-4-3, Barcelona-style? If you have the right players on your bench, you will be able to do just that.
As we give you the opportunity to create a brand new team every week, it seems logical to us to offer prizes to win on a weekly basis. Therefore, someone joining the game in February will be on a level playing field with someone who has been playing since the first week of the football season, back in August.
But we also decided to give you a choice. We don't expect to know exactly what you'd like to receive as a prize. You might not be interested in winning VIP tickets to a football game or some video games you may already own.
We thought that the best solution would be to give you a choice, every week, among a selection of five prizes we carefully selected.
The best three managers (and potentially more if our community keeps growing) can then choose the prize they want to receive. Obviously, if you finish first, you'll be be able to choose among a selection of "more wanted" prizes than if you finish second or third. We also try to renew our prizes' selection on a regular basis, to try to satisfy as many potential winners as we can.
Here is a short list of prizes that have been chosen by our winners (and their biggest smiles!) so far this season:
Since the launch of our game last August, we have been lucky enough to receive some feedback from our members (winners or not!):
As soon as the website went live, our first 100 beta testers spread the word. Thanks to word of mouth, we now have a community of over 5,000 Oulaladdicts (that's what they decided to call themselves!).
We have been interacting with them on a regular basis, and, based on their suggestions, we were able to implement on the website the following new features, among many others:
So, what would we do if we manage to reach our funding goal? We have one word for you: development, development, development. OK, three words.
As you will see below, we have chosen to exclusively invest the money that we could potentially raise through Kickstarter into... development (shocker): basically improving the game and your overall gaming experience. How are we planning on doing that? What are these "improvements" we are talking about?
We do have many more things in mind but we thought it'd be best to gradually add other projects/features once this major one is completed, tested, and fully functional.
All of the costs described below are reflected into the recruitment that we will have to make to be able to cover our future developments. In concrete terms: the budget will be entirely invested into expanding our development team.
We believe that adding the Champions' League to our list of covered competitions would be a huge improvement to the website. It would therefore give you more chances to prove your management skills (almost twice a week).
Featuring a Champions' League version of our game is challenging in many aspects. Among many others: do we include only teams in the five European leagues that we have on our regular game? Do we create a new "European" value for each player? Do we give more points for scoring in a Champions' League game than in a regular League game?
This is why this particular feature will require the most time to develop, and, therefore, the highest budget.
We'd love to have that game ready for the beginning of the Champions' League, in September (for the Group Phase). However, we need to be realistic: this deadline is just too tight. Therefore, we plan on adding the Champions' League to the site for the beginning of the final phase, in January-February 2015.
Estimated delivery date: January 2015
We estimated that the overall budget for your rewards and their shipping would amount to about 20-25% of the overall total amount we are seeking. You can see the details of each reward's level in the section called..."Rewards" (we had to think that one through) just below.
Everything comes at a price, even on Kickstarter ! The estimated costs are the following: 5% fees for Kickstarter, and 5% fees for payment processing expenses (3% fees + 1-2% VAT).
This football (size 5) will join you anywhere you want to go: beach, tennis court, five a side, and, oh yes, even for the serious stuff: 11 vs 11. You won't be able to find it anywhere else as it has been specially designed by our team for Kickstarter, with our colours and logo.
Oulala football jersey:
For our dear backers, we have also designed a football jersey, made by Oulala. Don't you worry about the shirt quality, since we trust you know its brand (the tiny company with a swoosh). This football jersey will only be made for this campaign.
"Thank you" wall:
Rather than having a virtual "thank you" page on our site, we will set up a poster on one of our office's walls with the name of every single backer who generously contributed to our Kickstarter campaign, no matter the pledged amount! You'll be able to hear your name being shouted since we'll film the whole thing.
Special Kickstarter icon:
This unique icon will appear right next to your username everywhere on the site: your profile page, the forum, and the leader board(s). Everyone will therefore know that, yes, you are pretty special.
This reward will allow you to tell us exactly what kind of article you'd like us to write about (your favourite unknown player/club/football memory?). We'll also create a unique visual with your input, which will be published alongside your article.
Early access to development environment:
For the lucky (and generous) ones who selected this reward, they'll be able to access our development environment about two weeks before the start of the new football season. They will therefore see all of the changes that our team is going to work on this summer, and they will obviously be able to give us their feedback and suggestions.
Your picture on our homepage:
Always dreamed to be pictured next to Mourinho, Ancelotti, or Guardiola? Well, if you decide to pledge for this reward, you'll be able to choose which famous manager you'd like to pose with. You will therefore appear next to him on our homepage for one full day.
Create your own player on Oulala:
How cool would it be to see your name next to the best football players in the world? We think so too. We will ask you to create your own player's profile page, with any details you want to be included on it. You will be listed as the best football player for a whole week on the site. And since you will be a legendary player (obviously), your value will be set at 100.1 million, therefore no teams will be good enough to add you to their roster.
Oulala day named after you:
At this level, you will feel even more special. Indeed, you will be able to rename one of our competition weeks to anything you want, given that it is something short, inoffensive, and polite! Your customized competition week will therefore appear at all times on our "Calendar" page, as well as all of our website's pages while it is taking place.
We have thought about various features which could enhance your gaming experience on Oulala. If we manage to reach our initial funding goal, the following stretch goal will be in sight (the next ones will be revealed in due time!):
Risks and challenges
While Oulala has been Live for close to 9 months now, there are still risks and challenges in a project like ours. The list below highlights the main ones:
1) We are not currently focused on generating revenues (the game is 100% free to play) since we want to focus on growing our community of Oulaladdicts. However, we do have a business model to make Oulala a sustainable company in the near future. If the company does not manage to raise enough interest from future potential investors, it could potentially be difficult for us to keep operating the game, given its fairly high fixed costs. We are however confident in our capacity of continuously growing within the next few months and years, giving the founding team's past experiences in successfully building startups to become successful and profitable companies.
2) Our capacity to attract fantasy football players, given the strong competition. The fantasy football industry is currently dominated by companies with strong brand recognition and financial power, and it will therefore be challenging to take on those big guys. We do believe that our product is strongly superior than any currently existing games, given the numerous innovations that we bring to the table. And we're confident that once people try our game, they're going to want to spread the word and will remain faithful to it.
Another important fact to keep in mind: even if, as a fantasy football player, you are already playing on specific websites, you can still give Oulala a try. We're not asking you to forget about your current playing habits and switch to us exclusively. Give Oulala a try: it's free and you can win prizes every week. What is there to lose, honestly ? :)
- (37 days)