Custom consoles prove a game changer for unemployed graduate
START-UP NATION: Memods:When an uploaded video of Dave Pepper customising a games console went viral within hours, the computer science graduate knew he was on to something, writes PAMELA NEWENHAM
DAVE PEPPER started out 2010 unemployed. The computer science graduate spent his time customising games consoles in his kitchen, taking them apart and remodelling them into something unique and different from the consoles owned by his friends. Then a friend suggested shooting a video about his creations and uploading it to YouTube.
“I’d always been interested in games consoles and spent a lot of time at college taking them apart, putting them back together and trying to customise them. I then spent four months in New York and Los Angeles looking at the gaming industry and toy market and thinking about various designs. When I came back my friend said I should upload a video of what I make to the internet.”
The video went viral and within a matter of hours had clocked up 100,000 hits. The video was being referenced by gadget and gaming websites such as Gizmodo and Kotaku, and Pepper got hundreds of emails from people asking where these custom games consoles could be bought.
“A lot of people contacted me following the video wanting to buy the product. I made a good few of them and sold them but quickly learned I wasn’t going to be able to keep up the pace, especially as larger companies such as Virgin Gaming in Canada had started contacting me wanting the products en masse.
“One minute I was unemployed, the next I was getting a call from the vice-president of marketing for Virgin Gaming.
“They have a network of about 30,000 gamers and thought it would be a good idea to have the game console attachments with their branding and logo on them,” he says.
Pepper was having to make every console attachment by hand, which took a lot of time and money, he adds.
“I knew I was going to have to start thinking about funding and large-scale manufacturing.”
Within four months Pepper had pitched the idea to several investors, three of which came on board, and raised more than €100,000 in funding for production of the snap-on custom toys.
“We went into design mode and were told it would take a year to a year and a half to develop the product. We pushed hard and had it developed within five months.”
And so Console Armour was born.
The product clips easily onto the Xbox 360s and is designed to offer a custom look in a matter of seconds.