FlickPlay’s social metaverse app brings augmented reality to Santa Monica

App users collect coins that unlock digital collectibles and promote local events and businesses.

A Santa Monica business development nonprofit uses augmented reality and an interactive map to get more people to their downtown businesses and events. The Downtown Santa Monica team hired FlickPlay to create a custom version of the company’s social metaverse app.

Santa Monica visitors use the FlickPlay app to find coins and unlock digital experiences that include music and vacation themes.

Image: FlickPlay

SEE: What is the metaverse?

FlickPlay is an iOS app that displays an interactive map with tokens scattered around Third Street Promenade and the surrounding neighborhood. The downtown Santa Monica digital experiences have a vacation theme. A coin unlocks a heart made of Christmas lights. There is one with a twinkling tree and one with a VW bus and a “Merry Christmas” sign. There is also music so users can have seasonal songs to go with the videos.

On the Santa Monica map, players use yellow tokens to unlock experiences or purchase items from local vendors. Blue tokens unlock collectibles and rare green coins come with a reward. Coins are stored on a digital wallet within the app. The company is planning a blockchain integration that will support ETH, Solana and Polygon wallets.

The “Social Metaverse” game feels like Pokemon Go as users navigate a map of a real city to find virtual items. Users tap a coin to collect an item that goes to a library. The next step is to place the item in your environment and then record a video with the item. The company currently has an advent calendar campaign that counts down the days until Christmas. The price for December 22nd was a unicorn set in a glass ornament.

The Downtown Santa Monica team and FlickPlay shared a mutual acquaintance. The city’s initiatives are in line with FlickPlay’s vision to transform the way people interact with cities within the metaverse, said CEO and founder Pierina Merino.

“Our goal is to make FlickPlay’s map a focal point for visitors and locals alike to access unique experiences, information and benefits while rediscovering the city through a unique Metaversum experience,” said Merino.

Previously, Merino developed a line of 3D printed products that Nordstrom has incorporated in more than 30 stores. She said she learned from that experience that entrepreneurs often overestimate the value that people attach to technology itself without thinking about its real benefits and consumer value.

“I rarely talk about AR technology or card infrastructure when I describe FlickPlay because they are simply the tools that connect a seamless consumer experience, and not the reason FlickPlay exists,” she said.


The Social Metaverse project will last a year and aims to increase pedestrian traffic to local vendors.

Image: FlickPlay

The FlickPlay team is working with retailers and event organizers to increase awareness and footfall, and it has seen a trend in returning users, Merino said.

The longer users stay, the better the videos get and the more they develop the kind of social collage they want to make with their digital collectibles, “she said.

The AR project is supposed to last a year. Merino said the goal is to make it more attractive to users unlock and own location-specific digital collectibles in the area.

“The goal of FlickPlay is to become a one-stop-shop to discover metaverse events in the city, enable microeconomics to flourish, and enable owners to rent their digital assets to visitors for social networking use, ”she said.

Merino predicts that digital collectibles such as non-fungible tokens will expand beyond marketplaces and become cultural objects rather than just purchases in 2022.

“In 2021, when buying digital items, most collectible owners are interacting with their digital assets in marketplaces where attention is focused on prices, bids and transactions rather than social flexibility,” she said.

She sees FlickPlay as a bridge between what is currently the most common experience with digital collectibles and the next phase of the sector.

“Flexing is one of the most primitive ways of building the social graph and value of things we physically own and our general social status,” she said.

FlickPlay is based in Santa Monica and has 20 employees. Merino raised $ 5 million in seed funding this year.

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. is a non-profit that works with the City of Santa Monica to promote economic stability, growth, and community life in the neighborhood.

Mackenzie Carter, director of marketing and communications for Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., said the city is excited to partner with an innovative local company to bring the metaverse neighborhood to life.

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