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Fantasy sports startup DraftKings launches first mobile game

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 7, 2012 09:00 AM

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DraftKings is serving up a gift to the sports-obsessed, just in time for football season. The Boston fantasy sports startup just released its first mobile game, for iPhone and Android: Big Baller. Players can draft new athletes each day, and compete with specific friends to see how their teams do, or the entire Big Baller community. But unlike the DraftKings web site, which allows them to put real skin in the game, Big Baller uses virtual currency to keep score.

"We expect a decent-sized overlap in the playing populations for both [the web site and the new mobile game]," says Femi Wasserman, DraftKings' head of marketing, "but that each market segment will remain fundamentally different."

Both Big Baller and the DraftKings web site are part of the"daily fantasy" gaming genre, which focuses on the day-to-day results of sports match-ups, where traditional fantasy sports have focused on building a team and following its progress over the course of a season.

bigballer5.pngThe Big Baller app allows players to follow live scores of the games they care about — and, of course, trash talk their opponents. There's a hard-bitten virtual coach named Coach O'Keefe who offers tips on playing. At launch, the app supports football, baseball, and basketball. And as with many mobile games — think Draw Something — it'll remind your friends when it's time for them to pick new players.

DraftKings built the new apps in-house over the course of the summer; the company had announced in July a funding round of $1.4 million, led by Atlas Venture of Cambridge. I originally covered the company, founded by a trio of ex-VistaPrint executives, back in February.

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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