Justin Yan joined Yale’s army the week he arrived in New Haven, Connecticut, as a freshman last fall. He proved himself first as a spy, infiltrating enemy lines up and down the Northeast. Then he was promoted to commander. “It was all downhill from there,” Yan says. “I was sucked in.”
Yan is one of more than 40,000 college students who have become addicted to GoCrossCampus, or GXC — an online game developed by a group of current and former Yalies. The rules are similar to those of the classic board game Risk: Teams of players from various schools battle for territory on a map that reflects real campuses, right down to landmarks such as dorms and dining halls. More than 2,000 kids from the 12 schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference competed in a recent championship match, and 5,600 participated in an Ivy League battle.
In a bid to expand beyond the academic world, GXStudios has created a second gaming platform — a team-building tool for companies. Google, Vivendi, and others have already run the game, pitting employees in one city against those in another or the sixth floor of an office building against the seventh. And this month, GXStudios plans to set up a new site, PickTeams.com, to host a series of team-based social games that move beyond the Risk playbook.
Photo by GoCrossCampus.