AugX Labs and 12:01 Games founder Jeremy Toeman believes that at the end of the day, great gaming experiences are born from one simple idea; to spread joy. That thesis has carried Toeman and company to new heights, and with millions of active users around the world — 12:01 Games continues to push the boundaries of conventional gaming experiences everywhere.
We Got This Covered sat down with Toeman in April to discuss the overnight success of his Wordle-inspired guessing game, Moviedle, and what came next for the fledgling publisher. Well, the time has come, as the minds behind Moviedle have partnered with the entertainment hub Likewise, as12:01 Games looks to bring their own personal touch to the recommendation service and beyond.
“Every time you play (our games), you just get a little happier,” Toeman echoed at the start of our exclusive interview. And after hearing more about the Bill Gates-backed media app Likewise TV, 12:01’s partnership with the startup seems to be a true match made in heaven.
The way Likewise works is simple; by using predictive artificial intelligence and an enthusiastic network of users and developers, Likewise is able to share streaming recommendations for your unique tastes — giving personalized TV, movie, book, and podcast suggestions every single day.
Yet, it’s not just recommendations. Likewise is also about facilitating discussion, which is why they allow their users to interact and help each other find new pieces of entertainment. The only problem is, what happens once you’ve found that bingeable hit show? What keeps users on the app until they come back for more content? That’s where Toeman and 12:01 Games come in.
“They (Likewise) decided to build something which they now call the Likewise Arcade. And the basic idea is to turn these games into discovery,” Toeman says. He goes on to add, “Because their platform is so smart, you can start exploring, so you can find new movies, books, and podcasts based on your gaming preferences.”
The symbiotic relationship between the companies has seemingly paid off, with users flocking to Likewise constantly to get their gaming fix. These “microgames,” as Toeman calls them, are meant to be non-invasive bite-sized bits of fun. Daily puzzles to solve that don’t get in the way of your schedule and make for a brief moment of enjoyment.
“You play these games in a minute and then go about your day, right? We’ve always talked about how many millions of minutes of joy we’re creating every month, and if we use that to measure our performance — then it’s a success.”
Since launching Moviedle, 12:01 Games has added two other daily puzzles to their lineup that have grown exponentially.
The first is a highly popular image guessing game called Posterdle, where players are tasked with guessing a movie based on the pixelated photo of its poster. As time runs out, the poster becomes more clear, forcing you to test how quickly you can name that movie.
Posterdle is as addicting as it is unique and has become one of Likewise and 12:01’s most played games of the year. The other, a spin off of Posterdle, is explicitly geared toward Netflix titles. Nflxdle runs exactly the same way, where the Netflix posters get clearer as players guess. If this seems daunting, never fear; Toeman has assured us that it’s easier than it looks.
“If you like movies, you probably have Netflix. It’s still the number one streaming platform in the world, and I’m constantly surprised with how many Nflxdle games I win just from having scrolled through Netflix in the past.
When discussing the future of the microgame craze, Toeman remains optimistic. “The microgaming space is here to stay, and if I had to make a bet, I think each individual game will have a shorter lifespan than regular games,”
He went on to clarify, “If I buy a console or mobile game, I’m going to play it until I’m done. With microgames, you might only invest in them for four to six weeks, or like some players, might have a year-long streak going. I think people will go off and experiment more and find what they love.”
Labors of love seem to be what surrounds the 12:01/Likewise partnership, and Toeman couldn’t be happier. He remained fairly tight-lipped when it came to discussing the other games they have on the horizon but had this to say regarding what to expect for the future, “We have three more game styles that we’ve begun to build over the rest of the year. So we’re loving that relationship, and I think fans will see a lot more to come.”
Now AugX Labs, 12:01’s parent company, is beginning to unveil a new system that sets out to streamline the process of content creation for YouTube, TikTok, and beyond.
Although much of the information surrounding his latest project is extremely confidential, Toeman shared that their newest venture has started to wrap up Alpha testing and is quickly headed for Beta. This ambition and drive are due, in large part, to the individuals Toeman has brought together to make AugX Labs possible. “This is the best team I’ve ever put together .” He gushed, “So, we’re moving at a lightning speed.”
AugX Labs looks to take the grunt work out of video content creation, all in an effort to promote creativity and have more fun. According to Toeman, time saved in the editing room leaves space for creative decisions that otherwise couldn’t be made during some of the more arduous processes involved in filmmaking.
“We are able to see that people who make video understand how much easier the experience could be,” Toeman says. “I know we keep coming back to this, but our mission is to create joy through creators and consumers alike. Everything we’re doing is supporting that idea. It has to.”
It’s quite clear that Jeremy Toeman and the folks at AugX Labs look to have a truly positive impact on the entertainment industry through their innovative technologies. And, it seems the creation of 12:01 Games is just the start of that driving goal. All we can do now is wait and see what the future has in store for the developer and all their wild creations.
When asked if he felt like the Willy Wonka of microgames, Toeman left us wholesomely with this, “Maybe, but…I can’t do the somersault like he can.”