Many games let you create your own character to wander/fight/fly through a gameworld. Soon you may be able to create that character in the real world too. A French startup called FabZat is giving game developers the ability to add some code into games to make that happen. Players can, on the fly, select any game character, even their own, and order a statue of it from FabZat’s 3D Printing facilities.
Between massively multiplayer online games and social games on mobile devices, the number of titles in which players make a customized character has grown over the last few years. Some players make characters that look like themselves; others make avatars that look like who the player has always wanted to be, even someone of the opposite gender. With FabZat’s help, players will now be able to get the character they embody in their games brought to life. Perhaps your World of Warcraft wizard can protect your desk or your Sims family can sit on a shelf in your living room. A video on the company's site shows how the process works.
FabZat offers a plug-in to game developers to enable players to buy customized merchandise on the fly. The 3D sculptures are made from a mineral resin or from PLA or ABS plastic, depending on the 3D Printer utilized for the merchandise. The company uses higher-end 3D printers than your typical home model, so a great variety of color and higher resolution is possible. The sculptures are then given a finish to improve resistance to damage or even add a metallic coating. Beyond the 3D sculptures, FabZat’s game plugin allows customized mugs, t-shirts and phone cases that are adorned with your character or other game characters you choose.
And the cost? It gets expensive fast. The first game to offer FabZat’s merchandising is "Asterix: Megaslap" by AMA Studios. While playing Asterix, you can order a statue of the comicbook character for anywhere from $22 for a 2.7-inch (6.9 cm) tall figure to $140 for a 5.4-inch (13.8 cm) figure and to a maximum of $1300 for a 11.4-inch (28.9 cm) figure.
A French startup, FabZat is currently partnered with 10 European publishers and developers, such as AMA, Shiro Games and Pixowl, to offer its merchandising service in their mobile games. The company hasn't said if it will expand to Triple-A games from bigger companies or jump from mobile to PC or console games.