Hitwicket: this Made in India app seeks to disrupt the global esports and mobile gaming market for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat
Hitwicket Superstars - Cricket Strategy Game 2020 by Hyderabad-based startup Hitwicket emerged as one of the favourite Made in India apps in the gaming category in the recent AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Hitwicket Superstars, which was launched in early 2020 for both Android and iOS, seeks to put India on the world map for mobile gaming and e-sports, Hitwicket Co-founders Keerti Singh and Kashyap Reddy tell YourStory.
In line with PM Modi's clarion call for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, or a self-reliant nation, and more particularly, his call for an Aatmanirbhar App Ecosystem, Hitwicket aspires to create a truly world-class gaming experience for the billion cricket fans, with their Made In India game for India and the world. Their vision is to host Hitwicket World Cup 2023, the grandest e-sports event for cricket.
“There’s so much opportunity right here in our country, to build something for our people - that’s truly made in India, for India and the world,” says Keerti.
“The best gaming titles in the world have one thing in common, and that’s immersion. To create a world beating cricket game, we need to be driven by innovation in gameplay that is inspired by elements of fantasy and can immerse the user in an imaginary virtual world,” she adds.
Since the launch of Hitwicket Superstars, the game has totalled more than 900,000 downloads and is enjoyed across 100 countries, with 30 percent of its users nestled abroad. Hitwicket Superstars enjoys a diverse user base, 20 percent of whom are female and 35 percent above the age of 30 — highly representative of the young, diverse team behind the game.
Furthermore, the team behind the game plans to make India a prime hub for e-sports championships by orchestrating the all-ambitious Hitwicket World Cup, tentatively scheduled for 2023 — wherein users from all across the globe would compete in a virtual IPL-like tournament at zonal, state, national, and international levels.
“It's very encouraging to see the government taking cognizance of gaming in India and the potential for creating a world-class game Made in India for India and the world,” says Keerti Singh, Co-founder and VP - Growth, Hitwicket Cricket Games.
Building an inclusive game
It’s no secret that for long, gaming and cricket have both been perceived to be segments largely dominated by men. In 2019, however, women constituted 51 percent of mobile gamers globally.
This is a far cry from the stereotypical image of what a ‘gamer’ is meant to be. In 2019, women made up for 51 percent of mobile gamers worldwide. Trends like these give impetus to the new reality that inclusivity isn’t merely a choice, but a necessity in an evolving gaming industry.
Hitwicket Superstars embraces inclusivity by adding female cricketers who are as powerful - if not more - and hit it out of the park just as often as their male counterparts do.
True enough, Hitwicket Superstars transports users into a virtual world where they own a cricket team of superheroes, with each player boasting a unique superpower of their own.
The user trains the team from rookies into world-class superstars capable of mind-numbing feats — from batsmen scoring 12 runs in a single ball, to bowlers conceding negative runs to the batting side, and bringing down the total.
Leveraging cricket's mass appeal
Cricket as a sport exists at very grassroots levels in India. From kirana store owners to working professionals — a deep, intellectual discourse surrounding the game pervades every segment of society.
“Our goal is to marry the mass-appeal of cricket with the accessibility of mobile gaming and put India on the world map as a prime hub of esports and mobile gaming”, says Kashyap Reddy, Co-founder, Hitwicket Cricket Games.
The global e-sports market is estimated to surpass $1.5 billion by 2023, with top prizes in esports tournaments easily ballparking to millions of dollars. The Hitwicket World Cup is one such upcoming global tournament that the team tentatively plans to launch in 2023.
“Zonal contests between local team owners would lead to state-level competitions, which would in-turn segue into national and international matches”, adds Kashyap.
Indeed, a global orchestration of this scale operating at granular, grassroots levels shall create income generation possibilities for in-game team owners, local sponsors and game veterans willing to mentor contestants for a price.
The goal is not merely to entertain, add value, and incentivise opportunities, but enlighten and empower users to aspire beyond the rut of daily life and bring alive the cricketing superstar within them — all at the tap of a thumb, Keerti says.