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Repost: Inktree and Big FOLD: The Next Step in Gaming Strategy

Some people might remember a little game that released during the holiday season called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Along with that game came the strategy guide, assisting some players on the ins-and-outs.

What some might not have realized was the Limited Edition of that strategy guide included a hands-free tri-fold laminated map guide with the multiplayer maps shown in an aerial view.

The creators of this guide is Inktree and the map peripheral is known as the Big FOLD.

I had a chance to ask CEO Eric Braun some questions about the Big FOLD, how Inktree had their first gaming-specific Big FOLD attached to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and the future of Inktree in the video game industry.

What’s the history behind Inktree?

Inktree was founded in 2006 by me, Eric Braun, and John Keefe. The two of us go way back, but took different paths after our high school days. John had a stand-out career in sales and earned a Masters degree from University of Virginia’s School of Teaching. I pursued an education in Finance before chasing the .com gold rush in the Bay Area for a number of years, immersing myself in the start-up world and focusing on product development. Our collaboration was the culmination of many conversations about entrepreneurial dreams and concepts that could be revolutionary.

At its heart, Inktree is a design firm. Our focus is innovation around the way people interact with information – particularly instructional and educational content. As two guys that love to play games, we’ve always had a passion for the space and the needs of gamers, which is why it’s become such a focus for Inktree.

Our first design to market was the Big FOLD, FOLD being an acronym for Fold-Out Laminated Display. The Big FOLD was a response to the growing frustrations of 3 brothers trying to learn guitar together by sharing a traditional songbook that they propped up against their couch.

Several sibling battles slowly evolved into working on a solution. We began looking for a bigger display that could stand up on its own and eliminate the need for any breaks in playing to flip songbook pages. Once we found the answer, It didn’t take us long to recognize that this product was great for any activity that requires the use of both hands – like playing video games.

All of the other bells and whistles (being a 3-pocket folder, having a dry-erase surface, long-term durability, portability, etc.) were added on during the product development stage. Our first product line to market using the Big FOLD was SHREDHED (tagline: No More Flippin’ Pages!), an award winning line of guitar instruction titles sold in mass retailers worldwide. We also have a highly acclaimed line of 2-in-1 educational floor-mat games for children 4 and up called 2 Big Games.

How did the COD: MW2 Tactical Map happen? COD:MW2 was the big game of the Holidays and being included in the Limited Edition is impressive.

Thank you. We couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Call of Duty franchise. This opportunity was simply a result of putting a good idea in front of the smart people at BradyGames, the publisher of the Modern Warfare 2 strategy guides.

The Big FOLD format just makes sense as a valuable strategic supplement for any game. All games have tips, tricks, and information that requires a quick pause to view, whether it means going to onscreen help or taking a couple of flips through the instructions or a book.

Placing that content on the Big FOLD allows gamers to highlight what’s important to them and set up the giant display right next to them while they play, thus avoiding any breaks in the fun part – playing the game.

Apart from FPS games, what other genres do you think would work well with Big FOLD? I can see fighting games being perfect.

The Big FOLD can be a valuable supplement to any game, within any genre. All games have a learning curve required for mastery. Learning all of the ins and outs of a game involves lots of pauses to reference onscreen help, instructional booklets, and key content in books.

Our goal is simply to eliminate all of those pauses by providing a hands-free and free-standing format that gamers can keep at their fingertips – or on the floor in front of them as the case may be. In the case of fighting games, we’re big Street Fighter fans and we know how valuable a easily viewed moveset can be, so it isn’t hard imagine the benefit of a fighting game Big FOLD.

Any titles that you want the Big FOLD to accompany? Like Final Fantasy XIII or God of War III?

Yes. Examples like you’ve mentioned would be ideal, and as I mentioned, the Big FOLD delivers tremendous advantages in mastering any game in any genre.

Is the plan for the Big FOLD to only be included with LE bundles or are standalone retail copies being considered?

We think that we can be both of these and more. For now all I can say is, more to come.

Any important information you want to emphasize about the Big FOLD?

I think that what I’ve provided about covers it. Thank you so much for the opportunity to communicate with you and your readers, Chris. I encourage you or your readers to reach out to me directly at eric@inktreeinc.com anytime with questions, feedback, or ideas for improving our products. Thanks again.

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I would like to thank Eric for taking time out to answer my questions, and I believe that the Big FOLD has a lot of potential in the video game market. If I had a request, it would be a Big FOLD for Super Street Fighter IV and Tekken 6.

Take a look at Inktree’s site here and keep reading to find out more information about what Inktree is going to release in the future.

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