People’s Champion finalist 2016: Play Consulting

This studio of ex-game developers is helping businesses be more innovative. Can it count on your vote for People’s Champion?

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Start-up name: Play Consulting
Founder: Marcus Thornley
Started in: March 2014
Based in: London
Business description: Digital product studio

Shortlisted category:

Service Business of the Year

The Play Consulting story:

After working in San Francisco for Electronic Arts (EA), games developer Marcus Thornley witnessed the power of games and saw how users would go so far as to disrupt their own sleep to harvest virtual carrots or candy in the middle of the night.

Determined to use these influential game techniques to do more than just trade money for virtual objects, Thornley created Play Consulting (Play) studio with a mission to create digital products that would go further and help people “achieve their goals and live happier, more successful lives”.

Fast forward to 2016 and Thornley and his team of 25 staff – including developers from Mind Candy, PopCap, Glu and Lionhead – are now building their own internal IP while working on a consultancy basis for large businesses such as Bupa, KPMG and PWC.

As part of the consultancy side of business, Play designed, built and now runs Bupa’s gamified wellness platform Boost while its IP division has created Totem.

Totem is a SaaS product which make teams more productive by sharing goals, celebrating culture, gathering feedback and bringing colleagues closer together. Launched in January this year, Totem has already been rolled out with the likes of Hakkasan Group, Pizza Hut, and Leeds Building Society, and has been granted a Seal of Excellence Award from the European Commission.

With Play already “hugely profitable” and revenues having grown by 149% year-on-year with no outside investment, Thornley believes that the start-up’s unique approach to the games industry – paired with large corporates-  puts the business “in a strong position to […] disrupt how consultancies are run and […] change the way people work.”

Why Play Consulting made our shortlist:

As Thornley notes in his entry submission, “Play is not your typical start-up” and we have to agree. What the business has achieved in little under three years is remarkable and serves as a great example of how gaming professionals can successfully crack the business space.

Where to find out more about Play Consulting:


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