Rewind the clocks back to June this year, when the Createful team sat together in a small studio in the baking summer heat and put their collective digital heads together for another “Friday Fun Hack” day – a time we dedicate to taking all our odd, fun, bizarre and challenging ideas and attempt to bring them to life.

We chatted about the next generation of video games consoles that were due for release later in the year, and as ever, the age-old debate of Sony Vs. Microsoft reared its ugly head, with each team member holding different viewpoints according to their favoured platform, exclusive games titles or even the feel of the controllers! It seemed obvious we should take the concept of a “Next Gen Console War” to the next level, and actually put the upcoming Playstation 4 and it’s rival, the XBox One in a head-to-head battle, giving people the opportunity to pick their favourite.

Early on, we thought about simply making a website where people could vote on their favourite machine, but there didn’t seem to be much incentive to attract people to the site, so taking the plunge, we decided to turn it into a prize draw competition, and offer one lucky visitor their choice of a brand new, pre-ordered, launch-day console of their choosing!

Next, we planned out the means of voting, and the method of actually entering the draw, and it was decided that a vote, along with following us on Twitter and retweeting a specific message was the best, most easily verifiable means of registering. This would have the added benefit of generating additional publicity for the Createful brand, via a range of social media platforms and sharing tools. The site design and layout came next, and so Toby and Michelle set about putting together some proposal design concepts. Once we’d agreed on the final look and feel, we split the project into sections, and Michelle focussed on the design styling while Toby constructed a responsive framework that the site would sit on. Meanwhile, James looked into some code that would register the votes and output the data in a graph form so that the results could be viewed quickly and easily.

Thanks to the rapid prototyping offered by Zurb’s Foundation 4 framework, we were able to get a working demo version of the site up and running in just a few days (development time is a key factor with our Friday hack projects), and it wasn’t long until we had the design splashed all over our responsive framework, which just left the grim task of ensuring numpties IE users would still be able to view site as intended.

Next Gen Console War featured image

With everything in place, we set about profiling the site via Twitter and Facebook, And were very happy with the results. At the time of writing, we gained over 1,000 Twitter followers, over 800 votes were cast on the site, and various posts had a combined reach of more than 300 on Facebook. But the important part was, of course, the winner, and a random draw once the competition was over gave us the Twitter account @KayraAlat, who was one very happy bunny when we got in touch with him to let him know he’d won!

He popped into the office (inbetween busily finishing off his university assignments!) to pick up his prize, and promptly tweeted the following photo showing just what a dedicated gamer he is, and how long overdue a console upgrade has been! Well done Kayra, and happy gaming =)

When I first saw the tweet announcing my win, my over-exposure to the internet forced me to do a double take. Could I have actually won something via the internet? Even as I was walking through the office to collect my ticket to the next generation of video games, I was half expecting to be shown where the cameras were to catch my disappointed expression when it was all a ruse. Thankfully, this was not the case and I was lucky enough to not only grab a PlayStation 4 but also meet the lovely team at Createful.

I have been fortunate enough to grow up with a father who was as excited about video games as I was, and have been spoilt by his generosity to buy the consoles and games that I wouldn’t stop talking about as I grew up. Now I feel like I have been afforded the perfect opportunity to make at least a slight dent in the huge debt I owe him. I am very grateful to Createful for giving me the chance to see the look on his face when he hears the start-up sound of the PlayStation 4.