Sabi Launches “ItzaZoo,” the Latest Breakthrough Learning Game
Creator of award-winning “ItzaBitza” celebrates first year of success with a new interactive drawing and reading game designed to engage early readers.
KIRKLAND, Wash. - Sabi Inc., a Kirkland, Wash.-based startup company that spun out of Microsoft Research in 2008, has launched “ItzaZoo™,” the latest in a series of unique, engaging interactive drawing and reading games for children age 4 and older. “ItzaZoo,” the second game by Sabi, is the result of Sabi’s collaboration with leading cognitive psychologists, reading specialists, experts in children’s interactive software and, most importantly, children.
As the latest game featuring Living Ink™, a drawing recognition technology that evolved from the Sabi team members’ research while at Microsoft Corp., “ItzaZoo” has garnered early praise. Jinny Gudmundsen, kid tech reviewer for USA Today and Common Sense Media, awarded “ItzaZoo” the highest rating, saying, “This is children’s software at its best — don’t miss this one.”
Within this novel drawing game, animals including elephants, lions and turtles accompany children on a unique journey through the animal kingdom. The magic of Living Ink transforms drawings into interactive environments and allows each child to participate in the creation of an ongoing story. Reading and creative problem-solving skills are taught in a manner that builds self-esteem while providing a fun, unique experience for every player.
Sabi’s first game, “ItzaBitza™,” has been awarded some of the most coveted awards given to children’s software, including these:
• Game of the Year, 2009, Creative Child
• Five-star review from USA Today
• BusinessWeek “Best Tech for Kids”
• The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, 2009
• Parents’ Choice Gold Award
• Dr. Toy’s Best 100 Children’s Products of 2009 list
• Editor’s Choice and Gold Award from the Children’s Technology Review
“While Living Ink strikes many as magical, the true magic lies in providing a new way to engage young children in reading practice,” said Margaret Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Sabi. “Through ‘ItzaZoo,’ we’ve created a new, fun way to practice reading that ignites imaginations and builds positive self-esteem.”
“Sabi has, in our opinion, established a new gaming standard, combining scientific insight into the ways kids learn and state-of-the-art gaming design principles,” said Sharieff Mansour, director of the IP Ventures program at Microsoft. “We’re proud to be part in this collaborative effort, providing the Sabi team with guidance and access to innovative intellectual property so that they can do what they do best — ignite and inspire creativity and learning for kids.”
Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 versions of “ItzaZoo” and “ItzaBitza” are available for online download at http://SabiGames.com; a box containing a CD at http://Amazon.com can be purchased for $19.99.
About Microsoft IP Ventures
Sabi Inc. was launched through the dynamic Microsoft IP Ventures program, which started in May 2005 to expedite the commercialization of new innovations developed through the company’s significant R&D investment. Microsoft IP Ventures is a global program demonstrating the potential of intellectual property (IP) to create opportunity for both startup and existing firms by combining world-class computer science research with entrepreneurial spirit.
Founded in February 2008 by gamers and moms of gamers, Sabi’s two games — “ItzaBitza” and “ItzaZoo” — are gathering recognition as breakthrough learning games. The two games are a culmination of a multiyear research project at Microsoft Corp. More information on the company is available at http://www.sabigames.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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