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A boy learns how to play “Vsyaka Muzyaka,” a karaoke game based on Ukrainian folk songs, at an event in Lviv that brings together mothers and their children for interactive activities on May 30.
Four years ago Lviv-based mobile game developer Nravo made only adult games. But that changed when company CEO Andriy Tabachyn and his wife Nataliia Tabachyn became parents, and last summer Nravo decided to add children's games to its product line.
Separately called Nravo Kids, the non-profit group employs six developers and designers, and has so far produced three mobile games for kids aged 2-4.
The free games — “Who’s in the Mountains?”, “Vsyaka Muzyaka” (Various Music) and “Svit Dobra” (The Good World) – are available on Windows Phone, Android and Apple’s iOS.
“Who’s in the Mountains?” is available in English, Russian and Ukrainian, while “Vsyaka Muzyaka” and “Svit Dobra” are available in Ukrainian only. Combined, the three games have been downloaded about 30,000 times.
“The Ukrainian mobile game market hardly has any educational games that are professionally drawn, designed and voiced,” said Nataliia Tabachyn, head of the Nravo Kids project. “So Nravo Kids started from our own need [as parents] to have games that would entertain our kids and also teach them basic skills, like counting and reading.”
“Mouse Alphabet” and “Talking ABC” are the main competitors of Nravo Kids, Tabachyn said. They are also well designed and available in Ukrainian and English.
In existence for a year, Nravo Kids has had $100,000 invested around in it so far. Microsoft Ukraine partly funded “Svit Dobra” while “Who’s in the Mountains?” and “Vsyaka Muzyaka” were funded by Nravo.
“Last autumn Microsoft representatives came to us with an offer to create a mobile game, where kids must do good deeds and help game characters, kids from orphanages or kids with disabilities, to complete the game blocks,” Tabachyn said.
Parents who play the game with their kids can donate money to charities through the game after each completed stage, when users are given the chance to donate to various causes.
Since the games are free, the non-profit seeks other fundraising avenues.
“We have low purchasing power in Ukraine, which is the number one barrier. While regular gamers can and are willing to pay for games, kids cannot. And parents are not yet used to buying mobile games for kids. They would rather spend Hr 50-100 on a regular book in a book store,” Tabachyn said.
For this reason Nravo also plans to sell physical games and activities. The first product is a coloring book. It includes “Who’s in the Mountains?” game characters and can be ordered from Nravo for Hr 150 or at online book stores and at box stores in Lviv.
Apart from the three kids’ games, Nravo has developed 19 games since 2010, when the company was founded. Over 20 million gamers worldwide now play the company’s range of games, forming the company’s main revenue source.
Anna Kosaryeva, a marketing specialist from Lviv’s IT school and a mother of two, says her kids don’t go anywhere without their iPads and Nravo’s games are their favorite ones. Kosaryeva said she was ready to pay several dollars for a game that could entertain and educate her children simultaneously.
“What I like about Nravo is that their games have offline analogs, so that kids are not always using their gadgets,” Kosaryeva said. “[But] when they are sick or I need to occupy their attention, Nravo’s games are a good solution for me, because I know that they are great entertainers.”
Kyiv Post staff writer BozhenaSheremeta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Kyiv Post's IT coverage is sponsored by AVentures Capital, Ciklum, FISON and SoftServe.
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