Akin to a bird waggling its wings and flying right into the sky, hyper-casual games have flown into the mobile gaming space. Thanks to hyper-casual games makers and the curiosity of the consumers, the vicious circle of time are helping mobile casual gaming to expand exponentially.
The minuscule titles of hyper-casual games have helped brands around the world to earn a fortune and to create space in the gaming industry for global stardom. In India, hyper-casual titles have established prominence in the industry. Speaking of which Indian hyper-casual games platform Pocket League has witnessed 100,000 registrations, with over 20 million game replays and average time spent per user per day of 30 minutes.
Speaking to Animation Xpress, Pocket League’s co-founder Karan Khairajani shared the journey of hyper-casual games platform started in August 2018. Prior to that, Khairajani was running an independent gaming studio, called All in a Days Play, which developed and published trivia, hyper-casual and simulation games on the various app stores. Across the life span of All in a Days Play, they did over 20 million worldwide game downloads.
They launched the hyper-casual game platform Pocket League android app in early November where one can earn real cash by playing hyper-casual games available in the platform. With a team of eight members, the duo founders Karan Khairajani and Surojit Roy initiated the journey of hyper-casual gaming platforms. Roy is a games industry veteran, his previous start-up was BYOF studios, which made social and casual titles targeting the India market. Back in 2010, he was a professional Dota player and captained India at several International tournaments and also co-founded AFK Gaming, an e-sports start-up.
Hyper casual games are something where the gamers can be anybody irrespective of age and one can play the game irrespective of time and place as well. Both Roy and Khairajani have been huge fans of hyper-casual games, which have been heavily popularised by Ketchapp and Voodoo, over the last few years. These games are easy to get into yet hard to master and mastering these games requires a lot of practice and skill. Pocket League enables gamers to compete against each other for real money.
Khairajani adds, “There are various contests available on the platform which vary with several factors such as entry fees, pay-out, number of entries, number of retries, duration and so on. Players pick a contest, pay an entry fee and set a high-score. The one who tops the leaderboard at the end of the contest wins the prize money. Contests can have several winners too and we generally reward at least 50 per cent of the players in a specific contest. The model is similar to daily fantasy sports games, with the variation being that the user plays the game and aims to set as high a score as possible, instead of picking a team for a real-world sporting event.”
The platform offers players with bonus money on sign-up which can be utilised to try out games available on the platform and to figure out what their favourite title is. Apart from that the platform does conduct contests which players can play without paying any entry fees along with contests where players have to pay an entry fee to play.
Considering the current Indian gaming market scenario, we asked him about the challenges he faces being in the industry. To which, he replied “The Indian gaming industry is growing rapidly and there is some fantastic talent out there. The bigger studios are putting out great quality content. They are innovating with content targeting India. Some of the work being done by independent studios is top-notch. From a consumer stand-point, monetization remains a major issue when targeting the India market.”
The platform recently launched a game named as Subway Dash which is a 3D runner game where the player has to avoid obstacles by switching lanes, jumping and rolling. It is a single-player game with players competing against others on the leaderboard. He shared, “Each game session of Subway Dash is limited to 90 seconds. Collecting coins gives extra points, so the aim is to survive until the end and collect as many coins as possible.”
They were discrete about disclosing their upcoming games on the platform but including Subway dash there are eight games which are available on the platform. For Subway Dash they took three weeks to develop, however they set a target of two weeks for the development of new titles. The most popular game is Cricket Clash, which is a 2D side-view batting game. Along with that, there are various contest modes which are available in this game like Super Over, which gives players only six balls to set a high score. Besides this, the other popular games include Highway Driver(3D car driving) and Crush the Candy(Match three).
When asked about his inspiration to initiate with not just games but a complete gaming platform he answered, “traditionally, hyper-casual games have a short lifespan. There are many such titles available on the app stores and players are scattered across them. We see having a platform as an opportunity to get these gamers to come together, compete against and interact with one another.”
The introduction of gaming platform is currently niche in India although people like Karan Khairajani and Surojit Roy have spun the wheel on transforming the traditional method of playing video games in the country. Now how the industry beholds it, only time can tell!