Young, innovative entrepreneurs are at the forefront of the vibrant gaming industry that has been flourishing over the last decade in the Lower Mainland. Among them is Jeffrey Jang, who was the recipient of the 2015 BCBusiness top 30 under 30 award. His expertise with illustration and design has grown over the years through freelancing and personal artistic creations; his talents reach out to entertain and educate both adults and youth.
“I would always try and draw art-related ideas that could sell,” Jang says, recalling being an artist from a young age. “I would always try doing small entrepreneurial things.”
Today, Jang’s company is a success. In its first year, it generated over one million dollars in revenue, making it a competitive venture in the gaming landscape.
It also received funding from various investors and secured partnerships with reputable names in the industry including Microsoft Canada and Blackberry, which promote Jang’s game Boximals in numerous countries.
Jang, born and raised in Vancouver, is a graphic designer certified by the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).
Jang broke into the Vancouver gaming scene in 2013 at the age of 23 when he co-founded Boximal Studios Inc., a company that devised an adventure game featuring a group of Boximals and their journey back home across a fantasy world of lush green forests, mountainous terrain and glorious waterfalls.
His idea was simple: he sketched characters that were a combination of boxes and animals.
“I came up with Boximals when I first started freelancing – I think I was working with my first ever client, and was helping him create characters for his own t-shirt line,” says Jang.
The game is one of friendship and admiration of nature, but also targets children to provide fun, early-education in numbers, counting and the English alphabet.
Inspired by the artwork he had made, Jang decided to develop new characters. He then approached his colleague (now the co-founder of the game) who wanted to integrate the artwork into a gaming idea.
“Boximals definitely played a key role in giving me the opportunity to get into the entrepreneurial space in Vancouver,” says Jang.
These days, Jang finds himself increasingly involved with other ventures in the Lower Mainland as well, particularly the creation of what he calls ‘immersive experiences.’
Co-founder and creative director of a company called Immmersive, Jang is among the few individuals in the industry dedicated to creating real-life, interactive experiences for adults and children.
Run by a team of eight, the company strives to train and educate by creating custom video game design merged with a movie-set structure that exhibits ‘immersive’ and indulgent experiences.
A typical set, for example, might involve lasers, moving doors, and hidden passageways.
“Everything is connected with tablets on the walls that you have to play games on and progress through,” says Jang.
Jang says the initial idea stemmed from the concept of escape rooms: participants are locked in a room and have to solve a series of puzzles to escape within a given time constraint. Usually such games have an interesting story, which is one of Immmersive’s primarily focuses.
The concept reaches out in particular to corporate team building and hiring candidates that apply for tough jobs. Immmersive offers corporations a customized video gaming experience to enhance team performance and challenge participants (allowing one to see who cracks under pressure, emerges as a leader, and is a team player) in an interactive environment.
“We found that there was an opportunity to do something better in Vancouver,” says Jang.
Their latest showroom, G.U.E.S.S. HQ, is a fun playground for problem solving located in the heart of Gastown.
Jang is nominated for best emerging entrepreneur by small business BC awards.