WCC2: the Made in India 3D cricket game wooing the world
Homegrown gaming app World Cricket Championship 2 (WCC2) became the people’s choice winner in ‘Gaming’ in the Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge.
World Cricket Championship 2 (popularly known as WCC2), a flagship cricket simulation game, became the people’s choice winner in gaming in PM Modi’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge. It garnered 74 percent of popular votes in the category, and secured the third position in the jury round.
The handiwork of Nextwave Multimedia, a Chennai-based developer of interactive mobile games and a subsidiary of gaming giant , WCC2 has been an absolute winner since its launch in 2015.
From being one of India’s most-awarded mobile games to being one of the world’s Top 10 Games by monthly active usage (as per App Annie) to getting listed on Google Play Store’s Editor’s Choice section, WCC2 has done it all.
It is the second game in the WCC franchise (IP owned by Nextwave Multimedia). Other apps in the series are WCC Lite, WCC Rivals, and the soon-to-be-launched WCC3. Overall, WCC apps have garnered more than 140 million installs across devices.
Earlier in 2020, WCC MAUs and DAUs hit a peak of 15 million and 3.5 million respectively, gaining from the lockdown-induced surge in mobile gaming. WCC2 alone counts more than 50 million downloads on Google Play Store.
The homegrown mobile game is a global hit, drawing users from over 150 countries. It has a loyal fan base in most cricket-playing nations, including England, Australia, the UAE, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Rajendran PR, Founder and CEO of Nextwave Multimedia tells YourStory,
“Some years ago, an investor told me ‘there’s no reason for a game development company to exist in India’. Now, when I hear the Prime Minister saying build games and go global, you know the world has changed. The Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge is a positive reinforcement for a sector that requires multiple skills. It is more difficult to build a game than most other software. The government push brings focus to the sector and creates an overall positive environment.”
WCC2 features and why it’s a hit
WCC2 is a simulation mobile video game that mimics real-life cricket, including leagues, stadiums, players, skills, strategies, rewards, leaderboards, training, match predictions, camera angles, lighting, etc.
In the absence of in-stadia cricket due to the pandemic, WCC2’s animated 3D environment is the closest that fans can get to the actual sport. Users get to choose from 11 different tournaments, including the IPL, World T20 Cup, Asia Cup, Big Bash, Ashes, World Cup, and bilateral series.
The app offers 18 international and 10 domestic teams, 42 stadiums, multiple leagues across Tests, ODIs, and T20s, 150 batting animations, 28 bowling actions, realistic ball physics depending on pitches (flat, dusty, green), player reactions specific to situations, dynamic ground sounds, night mode gameplay with LED stumps, etc.
Users can choose from three multiplayer formats: offline multiplayer, online multiplayer, and batting multiplayer. WCC2 also comes with social gaming features like ‘Challenge a Friend’, ‘Gangs of Cricket’, and ‘World Tour’.
The average time spent on the app increased 20 percent in the lockdown, and usage of its ‘Local Rivals’ mode has shot up 250 percent. “This mode lets you play without the internet with someone next to you — friends or family. This usage went up during the lockdown,” shares the founder.
Despite the holistic gaming experience created by WCC2, building a feature-rich game is a “hard” and lengthy process, he says.
“Sports simulation games are very tough to build. They are casual to mid-core gaming apps that have to be realistic and visually appealing with quality gameplay and animation that can wow fans. These are expensive to build, and you have to plan for the long term, keep investing in the product and rolling out continuous updates to ensure that the game gets a long shelf life. Updates are the single biggest thing in these games.”
Gaming apps also call for a “multi-skilled” mindset. “You need many skills to create a solid gaming product... software, AI, physics, motion, design, animation, and community building — everything,” he adds.
Growth and app monetisation
Even though cricket enjoys unparalleled popularity in India, monetising a cricket game — or any game for that matter — is no cakewalk. This is because users in India historically do not like paying for apps.
While India leads the world in terms of app installs and time spent (in some categories), it ranks fairly low in consumer app spends, according to Sensor Tower.
Hence, WCC is primarily a free, advertising-led offering with the option of in-app purchases. Users can pay to unlock more skills, tournaments, etc.
Nextwave Multimedia claims that WCC2 has generated “decent revenues”, growing at 25-30 percent a year entirely “organically”. Interestingly, even “without any serious effort” from the company, its in-app purchases (IAP) have grown almost 50 percent.
“We have only looked at monetising through ads so far. Cricket games lend themselves beautifully to ad monetisation. In actual matches, there are ads at the end of overs. The Indian audience is used to that. So, we built our entire revenue model around that and users didn’t object to it. But for accelerated growth, we’re looking to build an in-game economy with new experiences and reward mechanics that can be monetised through IAP.”
WCC3, the game’s premium version and a sequel to WCC2, will be rolled out in a few weeks. This will include match commentary from cricketers like Mathew Hayden and Aakash Chopra. Others too will be signed up shortly.
But all prior versions in the franchise continue to exist and drive user growth and revenues for the game developer. In March, WCC2 also partnered with fantasy and esports platform Mobile Premier League (MPL) to widen its reach among fans.
“WCC Lite is a 38MB application compatible with low-end devices that have 512MB RAM, whereas WCC2 is 600MB and WCC3 will be over 1GB… we are catering to every device point.”
With India’s mobile gaming population headed north of 300 million, and the government’s ongoing push for Made in India apps, the WCC franchise can only stand to gain. What separates it from other games is its relentless focus on maintaining the “realism and authenticity” of cricket.
The founder sums up with, “We believe in constantly innovating and updating the game for better user experience rather than just seasonal updates.”
And the results are there to see!
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta