An Adelaide startup is setting out to rejuvenate the centuries-old game of pool with technology that will let users play against opponents anywhere in the world.
8Shot is reinventing the way we use pool tables, using camera technology to create a new game that’s faster and more engaging. The startup wants to introduce a new set of rules, based on speed, where you rack up the balls and race your opponent to pot them in the holes.
The biggest difference, however, is that your opponent could be a stranger from anywhere in the world, or you could just be playing to improve your own record.
Founder Steve Grant said it’s probably something you do already with mates around the pool table, but 8Shot wants to use its technology to connect players all over the globe.
It has developed a device called an Overhead Control Unit (OCU) that can be fitted above tables to detect and send visual information to your opponent so you can play against them remotely.
8Shot’s tagline is “anyone, anytime, anywhere” and their aim is to make pool the people’s game.
“We love and respect the tuxedo guys playing fantastic pool, but we want our game to be available to the kid in the backstreet in Mexico in some bar, or in Beijing or Shanghai,” Grant said.
“There’s no language barriers, no weather constraints for pool games. We want to take it to anyone who has ever picked up a pool cue, so they can have a go and try their hardest to be the best. That’s our aim.”
The value of the 8Shot idea is that OCUs work with and have the potential to re-energise existing pool tables, so the tables are already there and the startup is just applying the technology to link them all up.
The machine in question features built-in speakers to play the user’s choice of music and a projector to display advertising when tables aren’t being used, helping to monetise a key space in bars and pubs.
Grant said his team is passionate about adding spontaneity and excitement to the game. The idea for 8Shot evolved out of the belief that pool should be more accessible, that anybody should be able to go and give it their best shot.
“I’ve played pool since I was a kid and love the game,” Grant said.
“Growing up there were pool tables everywhere but I could see that it was always lacking something, especially the TV coverage. Even in pubs and clubs, it didn’t have the oomph I thought it could produce.”
It’s an idea that could tap into a network of millions of players, amateur and professional, as well as pool tables in bars and pubs around the world.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The idea for 8Shot came 10 years ago and it’s taken a significant amount of time to find the right software and hardware technicians to develop the OCU.
The team is still working on making the machine more compact so they can hit the road and tour the country with their prototype before it launches on the market.
Still, even before launch, it’s no secret 8Shot is eyeing international expansion. The startup is based in Adelaide but its team hails from places as far as Los Angeles and Glasgow. It hopes, with the help of a capital boost, to launch in casinos in Las Vegas very soon.
This content was bought to you by Beyond Bank. Apply for a $20,000 entrepreneur grant before June 15th for the Canberra, Hunter Valley and Riverina, with South Australia and Western Australia opening in July for submissions.