Keerti Singh and Kashyap Reddy, co-founders of Hitwicket, launched the mobile cricket strategy game in 2015. The game combines the adrenaline rush of playing cricket with the thoughtful brainstorming that comes with owning and coaching a cricket team. The powerful gameplay experience has seen Hitwicket attract more than three million downloads in 70 countries.
“And the great thing about the product is that we have people in their 10s and 60s playing our game. And there are few products in the world with such a diverse spread of age groups,” notes Kashyap.
Sowing the seeds: how it started
Kashyap was especially fascinated by the world of board games and has been designing board games since he was 10 years old.
A rendezvous with a football strategy game made him realize that the same experience can be replicated in a game of another sport. Given the non-stop hype surrounding competitions such as IPL, cricket seemed to be the way to go. And that motivated Keerti and Kashyap to develop Hitwicket.
Besides being a strategy game, Hitwicket is distinguished by the fact that it is accessible to players of different age groups, genders and geographic locations. That, in turn, has helped increase its mass appeal.
“When you see IPL, you have Nita Ambani and Preity Zinta, many women who are actually very actively associated with the sport. So that was a missing piece in the cricket gaming ecosystem, where the games were still about male cricket teams, and we wanted it to include everyone,” added Keerti.
India’s entertainment-hungry market
Gaming, be it Web2 or Web3, is part of the larger entertainment industry. And India has always been a market hungry for entertainment. From movies and music to video games, the Indian public is constantly looking for ways to stay entertained.
Moreover, the rise of affordable smartphones and growing internet penetration have made things like gaming more accessible across India. Players in Tier II and Tier III cities can enjoy some of the world’s most popular games as long as they have a smartphone and an internet connection.
Then there’s the convenience of UPI payments, giving users even more freedom in terms of gameplay. That also means the time is right for new game developers and entrepreneurs to take the plunge.
“So I think all these three combinations, smartphone, internet, UPL, create that fantastic ecosystem where a user has a complete choice. What kind of games he wants to play, when he wants to play and how much deeper he wants to get into the game,” added Keerti.
Web3: The next big leap
Web3 has become the hottest buzzword in the rapidly evolving gaming landscape. Using technologies such as blockchain and decentralization, developers can add new layers to enhance the gaming experience. Players can now play to earn real money and trade their game assets on an independent marketplace.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that all Web2 games will benefit from adding a Web3 layer in the future. It is up to the developers to decide whether Web3’s features make the gameplay more immersive and help them attract and retain players.
“Whenever we add web3 just for monetization, there is a tendency that they lose their fun part as a monetization compromise. And that usually doesn’t lead to good long-term results. So the web3 layer, we have to look closely at it, how does it improve the game and make it more fun for the user? And that, as a side effect, leads to more revenue, opening up different business models,” adds Kashyap.
While this is an exciting time to enter the gaming industry, entrepreneurs should focus on building a premium gaming experience and understanding the needs of their target audience. It remains at the heart of building successful games that last for generations.
“You shouldn’t be chained to your own thought process or your own preference, and make sure it’s open and appealing to a wider TG. That way, even the kind of data you get is big enough to make decisions, understand and extract meaningful insights from it,” notes Keerti.
You can listen to the full episode here
02:00 – Cricket is a strategy game
11:00 – Games are where gamers hang out
18:00 –India gamers and Bharat gamers
20:05 – Web3 Gaming: Technology, Gameplay and Tokens