What if the blurry boundaries between board and digital games could be finally gone? That's the dream the French startup Wizama decided to turn into reality when it envisioned SquareOne, a digital board game console. First presented at Cannes Festival Des Jeux in 2018, the team brought an improved version to the ongoing Consumer Electronic Show (CES 2019) in Las Vegas.
When french delegation take a profesional break 😃 to the Wizama’s gaming Booth. They test Chroma on SquareOne. It laughs !
— wizama (@wizamaplay) January 9, 2019
The concept is simple: a tablet-based device serves a board that interacts with elements placed on its top. According to the developers, the idea started to take shape out of a father's fight for attention with his daughter's iPad. Tired of losing that modern-day battle, he envisioned SquareOne as a way to conquer his daughter's attention back.
I think it's safe to say the idea is working pretty well, as it updates the traditional family gathering around a tabletop to the screen age. With SquareOne, you'll have a 19-inch screen to throw toys, dices, paws etc on.
Hier soir nous présentions pour la première notre console de jeux de société et 2 jeux inédits aux Offs du @fijcannes ! Big merci aux premiers joueurs testeurs et à l'équipe organisatrice (au top). On a tellement aimé qu'on y retourne ce soir ! #j2s #bordgamelovers 🙃 pic.twitter.com/Z5pJpQn1d9
— wizama (@wizamaplay) February 24, 2018
SquareOne works over Bluetooth and NFC. Every little piece you'll roll, move and drag on its top such as dices, cards, and tokens must be wirelessly connected. A major advantage is that boards and games can be downloaded, not to mention the possibility of changing language settings and loading saved games.
— wizama (@wizamaplay) October 28, 2018
For now, SquareOne is a top-notch prototype, but its release date is close. It is supposed to be available in 2020 for $499. Besides the console, the whole product comes with 54 cards, a smart dice, 4 interactive pawns, a wireless track, and an AC adapter.
Un plateau de jeux de société interactif développé à 10 km de Rennes. 🇬🇧 Interactive board game screen currently developped in Rennes. Nice job @wizamaplay! https://t.co/3sSJNB7jVh #Stunfest2018 pic.twitter.com/fGBsHtXHve
— Stéphane Cloâtre (@StephaneCloatre) May 20, 2018
UPDATE: The developers are still not sure which online retailer will sell SquareOne. However, a pre-sale will start at the end of 2020.