It was a little early for a scoop yesterday morning at Toscanini’s Ice Cream near MIT. But the idea of winning a free treat by playing a game on their iPhone or Android phones appealed to about a half dozen 20-somethings hooked on “SCVNGR.”
The location-based mobile game created by Boston whiz kid and Princeton dropout Seth Priebatsch launched at 50 local businesses yesterday. Players earn points toward discounts or freebies by performing challenges, like taking a picture of yourself in a Zipcar parking spot.
At Toscanini’s, one challenge is to create a new flavor — a task worth four points. Nine points are good for a coupon for a free topping, and 25 are worth a large ice cream.
“I’m working toward free hot fudge,” said Justin Schaeffer, 24. “I think I can get a free ice cream. I like free stuff. I’m always using my iPhone anyway; it’s glued to my hand.”
The first 50 businesses joined the Cambridge startup for free, but Toscanini’s co-owner Gus Rancatore said he’d pay SCVNGR’s $80 monthly fee.
“It’s a new form of couponing,” he said. “It lets you know who your customer is.”