Osmo’s new Pizza Co. game uses augmented reality to teach kids about running a business

With its latest title, educational game-maker Osmo is tackling a subject that’s close to CEO Pramod Sharma’s heart — entrepreneurship.

Co-founded by Sharma and Jérôme Scholler (both former Googlers), Osmo makes iPad games that combine touchscreen gameplay with real-world objects and physical activities in front of the screen. Past games have covered topics like coding, drawing and math.

Sharma compared the new game, Pizza Co., to the lemonade stand that many kids have operated in the past. (Sadly, I never had one.) The goal is to give players a fun way to understand what goes into running a business, and also help them practice skills like arithmetic and pattern recognition.

So if the lemonade stand is the model, why go with pizza? Sharma’s answer is simple: “Kids love pizza.”

The game’s physical components include a pizza pan and different toppings. Kids play by assembling pizzas based on customer’s orders. The game also comes with play money, so kids can make change for customers after they’ve eaten. (All of this physical activity is captured with Osmo’s reflective camera.)

Sharma noted that in schools, many classes already include store and cash register exercises, but he said Pizza Co. offers a much broader experience, so that kids can start thinking about things like customer satisfaction and using revenue to grow their business.

“I’ve gone through this journey of building a company, entrepreneurs are all going through this journey, so our goal with this was: How do we give that experience to children as a game?” Sharma said. “How can you give them the life of an entrepreneur?”

As the player’s pizza parlor becomes more successful, they can start spending their profits on upgrades like nicer decorations or a faster-working pizza oven. They can also become mini pizza tycoons, buying up other pizza parlors.

The main game is designed for kids 7-12, and there’s a “junior” setting for 5- and 6-year-olds.

Pizza Co. sells for $39 — or, if you don’t already own Osmo’s hardware (including an iPad base and camera mirror) you can buy a $59 Commerce Kit that includes the core hardware and the Pizza Co. game. Pizza Co. will also be available in Apple Stores worldwide next month.