Lightgliders aims to inspire hope and purpose through fun and games
Zach Fay and his sister Julie McWilliams are the startup founders of Kingdom Scene, which launched Lightgliders in 2014. Their idea was to utilize digital games and activities as a way to engage kids and impart biblical principles. The St. Louis-based company has created a digital game world and online community for kids that is…
Zach Fay and his sister Julie McWilliams are the startup founders of Kingdom Scene, which launched Lightgliders in 2014. Their idea was to utilize digital games and activities as a way to engage kids and impart biblical principles.
The St. Louis-based company has created a digital game world and online community for kids that is designed to inspire reflection and transformative conversations among kids and those who care about them. Mr. Fay said that his sister was instrumental in encouraging him to pioneer this idea in St. Louis.
Silicon Prairie News spoke with Zach Fay about why and how he created Lightgliders, and what’s on the horizon for the company.
“When I had the initial idea for the company, I was just a guy with a back-of-the-napkin idea,” said Fay. “We’ve pivoted a few times since then to bring us where we are today, with a cross-platform product that kids enjoy and parents appreciate.”
Inspiration for Fay’s idea came from when he was a youth pastor working with high school kids. He said he spent a lot of time putting out fires rather than developing leaders.
“I did some research on the critical years in child development, and found that the years before age 13 are the most important,” said Fay. “One’s sense of truth, morality, and identity is firmly in place by age 13. I decided I wanted to develop a product that would engage children during these formative years, and give the adults who are invested in them emotionally, relationally, and spiritually tools to engage their kids’ minds and hearts. Lightgliders provides a positive digital alternative for kids that can be used by families to spark meaningful conversations. And, in these conversations seeds of hope and truth are planted that can transform a child’s life.”
Fay said that when the team first started Lightgliders, their goal was to create a brand universe that resonated with kids and a virtual world gaming experience that would be fun for them.
“We asked––can we create a multiplayer computer game that is fun and also encourage faith, character, and conversations?” said Fay. “We conducted focus groups and beta-tested the first iteration of Lightgliders with thousands of kids. I was trying to identify a culturally relevant and globally distributed way to encourage meaningful conversations among kids before their teenage years. Despite our minimal development expertise, we were able to conduct the necessary research to inform product development; once we clarified the plan on what and how to build the platform, we hit the ground running.”
Fay said they felt good about what they created because they saw that kids loved it, and parents resonated with the value proposition.
“We saw the market changing around us as kids were moving to mobile devices, so we began to pivot in 2016,” said Fay. “This resulted in Lightgliders becoming a cross-platform product with an app in the iOS and Google Play stores in addition to the web-based experience.”
What does the future hold for Lightgliders?
“Our three top goals on the horizon are to continue to add more immersive and community gameplay to our mobile experience, to optimize marketing channels, and to become a transmedia brand,” said Fay. “Our vision is for Lightgliders to transcend the game world and to leverage its characters and story-based adventures into books, toys, and perhaps a television show. We have a Lightgliders afterschool program in St. Louis, and we envision more of those as well.”
Fay also added, “Ultimately our mission is to engage kids and provide wholesome gaming content that parents can feel good about. We know from our research that parents want to have options in the digital age. Parents tell us they love Lightgliders, not only because it is ad free, but also because it provides content for meaningful conversations with their children.”
Kids using the Lightgliders computer game or app get to create a character, play games, watch videos, carry out missions, and engage with new content lessons each week. Parents can use the digital platform as a tool to spark great conversations on the way to school, at the dinner table, or before bed. Parents are sent the weekly lessons and conversation starters to spark good discussions with their kids.
“Lightgliders is a fun way to engage kids, tell stories, and ask thought-provoking questions. And with Lightgliders, kids get to enter into the stories, become one of the characters, and learn how they were ‘made to shine,’” said Fay.
Visit www.lightgliders.com to read more about this company.
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