I’ll admit, I discovered the game Design Home one day while I was waiting for some phone calls to be returned for a story I was working on. It’s the story of a journalist’s life — you never know how long it will take for the call to be returned, so you fill your time with multiple trips to the coffee pot, several snarky comments on Twitter, and online shopping.
But that day, for whatever reason, I hit the app store and downloaded the game. That was about six months ago, and now I find it’s just a fun way to not only pass the time, but also to get a better grip on new furniture lines, certain styles, and more.
To get the lowdown on the game, I talked to Glu Mobile’s Chris McGill, who is Vice President and General Manager of Design Home.
CD: How many people are currently playing the game?
McGill: Design Home has generated over 25.5 million downloads worldwide across iOS and Android and we just announced that the platform has about 1 million daily active users.
CD: I know that you market to women, but have you noticed that interest in the game is more widespread than that?
McGill: Yes, Design Home has a large female audience. But I do think there’s a sizable group of users that are just generally interested in interior design. Ultimately, Design Home is an outlet for creativity so anyone who is looking to flex their design muscles and see how they stack up against the community will be pleasantly surprised.
CD: How do you get these home decor and furniture companies to participate?
McGill: One of the things we’re most excited about is that Design Home integrates items from dozens of real-world brands like Design Within Reach, Kathy Kuo, Cynthia Rowley, Apt2B, Blink Home, Anthony Baratta, and many more. We’ve built a sophisticated platform where brands can reach interior design enthusiasts, increasing consumer engagement. All the while offering our players an enhanced, more realistic experience.
I really think we’re revolutionizing the way brands and consumers interact. To do that, our team keeps up with industry trends and only work with brands we truly believe in and that will add value to our product and the experience of our users.
CD: There are other games that let you take a hand in designing a room or a house, but they’re not as realistic, and don’t have actual brands. Do you feel that this sets you apart? What else about the game do you think is different?
McGill: You’re exactly right, Design Home is the only mobile product of its kind that allows users to style virtual rooms using items real-world brands. There’s even an opportunity to purchase those items if they wish, which only adds to the realism of the experience.
Another key differentiator of Design Home is the competitive aspect of the platform. Users are not simply designing rooms, passively. They are competing in up to five challenges per day all with a different theme and goal.
From private island escapes to luxury high-rise apartments, users are thoughtfully, and creatively filling 3D spaces with real, coveted furniture and decor and submitting their designs to a robust community of voters. It’s interior design with a competitive twist.
And that competitive twist is one of the things that made this game so much different from some of the other simulation games I’ve tried to use involving design in several ways.
The graphics are superb. You are looking at an actual room, placing the furniture around it. Secondly, the game designers work with actual companies and designers to offer lines you can actually go buy in a store — actual brand names.
And as McGill mentioned, there is a competitive aspect to it. Each day design challenges are issued throughout the day. You design your room according to the challenge rules and then submit it. Later, everyone will vote on the designs for that challenge — it’s how you earn the “keys” that are used to enter the design challenges.
When I was explaining the game to someone last weekend, I was asked if it was a time suck. So far, I haven’t found it to be. Usually, I’ll play for maybe 30 minutes the whole day, in dribs and drabs as I have time. But it’s been enough that I have been able to pick out designers in showrooms without looking at the signage. It’s also fun to spend fake money on things that are normally way out of my price range.
Each entry you do earns you money you can use to pay for new items. You also win new furniture and such if your room design is scored high enough, and as you hit certain levels more designers are unlocked, and you also get more stuff.
If you’re feeling a bit unsteady about your design knowledge, this is a great way to start learning your modern from your contemporary, and your traditional from your coastal. And if you already know this stuff, putting your designs up against other designs in daily challenges is a fun way to pass a couple minutes while you’re unwinding before bed, right?