French Startup Wizama Receives UX Design Award at IFA 2019

In recent years, a couple startups have tried to conjure up the alchemy of bringing classic (that is, papery) board and card games together with the digital, pixelated world that goes with interactive entertainment. In 2019, one of the companies that’s achieved a healthy dollop of visibility is Wizama‘s SquareOne console and paper-to-digital gaming library. Wizama is a French startup that describes their vision as an opportunity to bridge classic games to modern-age games as a way of connecting generations.

The SquareOne looks like a super-sized tablet tablet, which it essentially is and would need to be to approximate a tabletop-style gaming experience. The system specs bear that out as well:

Wizama's SquareOne tabletop console

Wizama’s SquareOne digital tabletop console (image credit: Wizama)

The 7 lb. Android-based system is dominated by the 19″ TFT-LCD active multi-touch display, which features “170° Hardless surface Anti-reflective” wide angle viewability. A hexa-core ARM processor powers the SquareOne, Memory is set at 2GB and storage will be offered in 64 and 128GBs capacities. Connectivity is offered through Wi-FI, NFC and Bluetooth. On the audio side, 4 speakers are built into the system. The SquareOne has the gift of tongues with 32 language offerings, which should ensure the console will be accessible to an international audience.

Six games are set to be offered at the SquareOne launch, each of which are designed for board and tabletop style play. Wizama profiles their early catalog here.

Their SquareOne hardware platform had some of its first significant exposure at this year’s CES expo in Las Vegas. Now, at IFA Berlin, Europe’s largest technology expo, the company marked another milestone with the announcement about winning at the (affiliated) UX Design Awards. The UX Design Awards is a high-profile global competition with a specialized focus on user experience. The competition attracted 200 companies, from such rockstar companies as Samsung and Mercedes-Benz, from 20 different countries.

The SquareOne console snagged the win in the Product category. The award ceremony took place on September 6th:

 

Frank Botta, CEO and co-founder of Wizama, in the pofficial announcement about the company’s prize win:

“Our board game console was created to materialize a new era of connected social game, where every accessory, movement, effect and interaction is calculated and displayed in real time by and on a console featuring a look inspired by both the spirit of traditional and board games.”

From an event perspective, the SquareOne could be a strong evolutionary fit for classically tabletop-oriented events, like PAX Unplugged, BGG Con among others.

The SquareOne has been officially announced as “available in early 2019, but there doesn’t appear to be evidence of the tabletop console’s availability yet. Given the critical acclaim for the console in advance of its public availability, demand may grow with that acclaim.

The SquareOne’s suggested retail will be $499, including the console, four differently colored interactive pawns, 54 cards, one smart dice, one wireless dice track. and an AC power adapter.

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