Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

CollegeHumor Launches Bout, a Photo Game App

CollegeHumor today is launching a social photo-taking game for iPhone called Bout, where players compete by submitting photos that answer funny prompts.

BoutMedia_ShareCardCIn a game of Bout, one player chooses a prompt like, “Something you wouldn’t want to find in your bed,” or “You’d be surprised I own,” and friends respond by taking or finding a photo. Once five entries are submitted, the original player judges them and awards in-game points to the winner.

Bout is the first game for CollegeHumor, which is a division of IAC, and it was built in collaboration with independent game developer Awkward Hug. CollegeHumor writers will be contributing funny prompts, including a daily global Bout that all users can join.

“Usually we have the set-up and the punchline. In this, we’re just giving the set-up, and letting other people provide the punchlines,” said CollegeHumor co-founder Ricky Van Veen in an interview Wednesday.

“There’s nothing people like more than to let other people know how funny they are,” he added. “If we set it up and have someone else spike it, that’s a win.”

Bout judging is entirely subjective — much like in board games such as Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity — so it’s all about figuring what will appeal to your friends.

One issue with Bout may be that, because there’s no way to create new challenges with strangers, there’s not very much to do within the app until you spam five friends and get them to download the app, as well.

On that front, Bout is already set up with ways to share little summaries of completed games directly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram (as in the screenshot above).

Bout also opens up a new business model for CollegeHumor. “Most of our business is ad-driven, but we plan to make money from in-app purchases,” Van Veen said.

Coincidentally, Van Veen will be a speaker at our Dive Into Media conference in Southern California in a couple weeks, so we’ll have to check in with him there about Bout’s progress.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald