Did you know that there are currently about 2.3 billion mobile gamers around the world, accounting for 50 percent of all unique smartphone connections? The mobile gaming industry is currently evaluated at about $150 billion in 2019, globally, and gamers from India comprise a substantial portion of this market.
One company has been in the playing field for only a year, but is already a rising star. Say hello to Ability Games, an impressive gaming startup from India with a vision to redefine the status quo of the domestic mobile gaming market.
A success from humble beginnings
The story of Ability Games goes back to a casual discussion one evening during a party when a few simple ideas were hastily scribbled on the back of a paper napkin. By 2017, Suraj Chokhani had set up a comfortable office in a prominent IT hub in Kolkata. He was determined from the very beginning that gaming would be at the core of their agenda to create something simple and relevant, yet unique.
Their first launch was one of the world’s most timeless forms of entertainment – playing cards. They launched PokerLion in February 2018, and very quickly became one of the most trusted Indian poker platforms. However, they wanted to create something that was more quintessentially Indian. And what fits that description more than cricket? Ability Games decided to introduce fresh flavours into the country’s most beloved game. The idea was to introduce a Fantasy League game for the sport, but the challenge was to distinguish their work as a provider of infotainment. They already had a captive audience in Poker, but with Fantasy League gaming, they had to balance between user satisfaction, casual gaming fun, and avoiding being branded as just another ‘gambling’ sport.
11 Wickets for the Indian sports fanatic
This led to them launching 11 Wickets in June 2018, which was designed to be more about the knowledge of the sport than just another game icon on your phone. 11 Wickets is a game of skill; and implements a winning strategy based upon an individual’s knowledge of cricket as a sport, a prominent part of pop culture, and an interesting activity across diverse age groups. They also launched Sports.info, a website with quizzes and trivia-based engagement for sports enthusiasts to keep themselves updated with latest sports news.
The evolution of a rising star
Ability Games, which has become the Number 2 gaming company in India in less than 1 year, is the first startup with a commitment of $10 million by the founder himself.
So how did they rise to success in a span of just a year? The founder says that their key focus was on the basics like the right digital marketing strategies, relevant Google keywords, and the right creative agency. While it is true that early endorsement by a brand ambassador as popular as Sunny Leone helped them get the ball rolling; the unique and satisfying user experience of Fantasy League gaming is what made them a success story. This startup’s rapid evolution in a consumer market as challenging as India is built upon the acceptance and engagement of nearly 3 million users.
“The mantra of Ability's success is that I myself has been an ardent gamer. So, coming from the other side of the table, I always knew what gamers wanted. I always focused more on the product and basics rather than other things which helped us connect with our base in a way which others could not,” says Suraj Chokhani, Managing Director, Ability Games.
Suraj adds that the team has unhindered freedom to improvise, but they have defined two basic principles from the very beginning. First, each project would have to reflect a multilingual approach, and strive to be as inclusive as possible. Secondly, user experience, interest, and satisfaction would have to surpass all other considerations.
Foreseeing an exciting future in gaming
Currently, Ability Games has over 3 million users on 11 Wickets; and their subscriptions are showing a double-digit growth percentage every month. 11 Wickets has also expanded into Fantasy League gaming for Pro Football, Pro Kabaddi and Basketball. Apart from Poker Lion, they have also begun to expand into more card games like Rummy24.com.
Ability Games has recently acquired Yudiz Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a Gujarat-based IT Company to venture into the development of more technologically complex projects including behavioural gaming solutions, VR, and other practical applications of gaming apps.
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