It is 10 p.m. You create a room on your handset. A code pops up and you send it to your WhatsApp groups. They join and the game begins. Can you guess what am I talking about? A majority have guessed it right. It is the Ludo King, India’s #1 gaming application.
While a majority of the youth has spent this lockdown playing PUBG and PS4, millions of Indians, belonging to all age groups have been fascinated to the centuries-old board game- Ludo or a digitalised version of it.
LUDO KING-VIRTUAL REPLICA OF A BOARD GAME
Ludo is a simple game with up-to four players, with each player throwing the dice in a race to move all their token to the centre of game or say, HOME and knock the tokens of other competitors off.
The board game, Ludo was originated in India in 3300 BC. However, the fast-moving life did not give that pace to sit with your loved ones and enjoy playing board games. Thanks to technology for breaking all barriers and allowing people to establish a connection of love, belongingness, happiness with their friends and family by connecting remotely with each other over this wonderful game.
With the tagline, “RECALL YOUR CHILDHOOD”, Ludo King, was first launched on February 20, 2016 and is owned by Vikram Jaiswal. It is the first Indian gaming application to pass 100 million downloads and was the sixth most downloaded game worldwide in May 2020, according to Sensor Tower. It is available for free on Android, iOS, Kindle and Windows Platform. Developed by Mumbai-based Gametion Technologies Pvt Ltd, Ludo king witnessed a huge spike during the lockdown, with a 142% jump in downloads between the months of February and April.
Creator of Ludo King, Vishal Jaiswal said, “The game has individual dice pads, catch animation and the dice isn’t rigged- every move is random”
If you see other Ludo games, you will find classic rules. For instance, you need to roll the dice again if you get a six. However, in Ludo King you simply move your token once you get a six.
Ludo King has won the best mobile and tablet game in the Arcade International category at the 19th FICCI Frames Best Animated Films Awards.
The team now also offers two meta games along with Ludo: Snakes& Ladders and 7 Up 7 Down.
WHY CHOOSE LUDO KING?
Ludo King stands out due to the fact that it was the first Ludo game of this kind on mobile phones. Most of the other games came out later, when Ludo King already had millions of fans. It has some exclusive features like:
Engaging Graphics: Graphics is the heart of any online game. Everything else fails if the graphics do not grab the user’s attention. Ludo king provides with a theme option where the user can change the skin of the game according to his/her preferences.
Multiple Modes: Apart from offering the traditional Ludo experience, users get an option of Computer mode, Local player mode, Multiple Player mode and Private mode for Multiplayers.
Rush Mode: This has been designed to make the game more interesting and competitive. Here, the player instead of waiting for other players to play their turn, keeps on rolling their dice with the objective of reaching “HOME” before the others. This mode is available only in Ludo King.
Multiple Languages: The game can be played worldwide. Therefore, it comes with an option of bilingual language so that players from any region can use it.
Real-Time Chat Support: Users playing with one another can connect among themselves via chat in between the game. It is also going to bring an audio chat feature in the game very soon.
No technical knowledge required, low data usage and low RAM requirement are the other benefits of using the application.
COVID QUARANTINE SENSATION IN INDIA
Confined in homes, this lockdown was no less than a nostalgic trip for many. A centuries-old game familiar to all generations, Ludo has sparked a lockdown craze in India, this time through digital means.
While many companies have been facing the adverse effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, Ludo King is one of the few names we can take from the tech world that has seen positivity out of the pandemic. Ludo King started growing in terms of installs and user base.
Even the unsociable gets a chance to communicate with strangers and share a time that allows them to withdraw to an enjoyable gaming experience from their self-contained lives.
During the initial phase of lockdown, Ludo King had reached number 1 ranking in the top charts of free games on Google Play. The chart shows that during the lockdown, Ludo King was the most downloaded game application.
The application received 36 crore downloads on Android and 1.92 crore downloads on iOS. Ludo King used to see a sudden spike immediately after the telecast of Ramayana on Door darshan. After 10.00 pm, a majority would access the application. As a result, the server started crashing in the first week of lockdown itself. The company took 6-8 days to scale the game. The scaling up is evident from the number of servers: from eight before to 200 servers now.
“I like the app more than the board game, the moves are more calculated and the sound effects make it livelier,” said Mrinal Kanti Sarkar, an ex-SBI branch manager from Kolkata who regularly plays for as much as six hours a day.
The team received an overwhelming response not only from India but other markets as well. According to data, shared by Jaiswal, the monthly active users of the game grew nearly 47 percent i.e. it had crossed 18.9 crore users between April,2020 and May 2020, while the daily user growth went up by 30% in the last one month (5.1 crores from 1.5 crores), from all across the globe.
There are some interesting statistics to note about the application. In terms of business, monetisation has increased five times for Gametion on the back of ad revenues. With the increase in number of downloads, the revenue in the month of March 2020 was locked to $300,000 and to $922,000 in the month of May.
This application has received a five-fold increase in traffic. The average daily time spent on Ludo King also increased from 32 minutes to 48 minutes between April 18 and May 18, which was up by 2.2% from March 12,2020 to April 17,2020; there is a considerable amount of people who play the game for 3-4 hours daily.
The in-app purchase is around Rs.10-26 per item. So, even if 10% of the users spend an average of Rs. 20 the revenue will be around 3 million easily. Huge marketing and user engagement and retention also plays an important role. Out of the total number of users, 60% are Indians using and enjoying the application.
The company has been profitable since the very beginning. The closed FY19 with a turnover of $6 million and are expecting to close FY20 with three times increase.
WILL THE GAMING CRAZE THRIVE IN THE POST-COVID WORLD?
Ludo King has some new features in the pipeline already. It plans to introduce five and six player options to keep its users engaged, as well as audio chat functionality. The demand for this application has increased manifold during this lockdown.
The question arises here is that what is going to happen in the post-Covid world when the spare time is going to dry up? Keeping all consumers engaged in one’s application is very challenging as the competition is not only with other gaming applications but other platforms like Netflix, Disney+ as well. Even if Ludo remains popular, there are more than hundreds of alternatives available in the Google Play Store.
However, the habits developed during the lockdown like increase in use of smart phones are expected to continue even after. People who have claimed that they never played video games were also found gaming during this unprecedented situation. Once social distancing measure ease, people will be going back to their activities which they have been replacing with games online.
Therefore, in the post-Covid-world, the numbers are definitely going to be down as compared to the lockdown but probably more than before the lockdown began.