As India celebrated 75 years of independence on August 15, one of the government’s aims was to honor the struggle of the unsung heroes of independence. So, in line with this year’s theme “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) launched two games in collaboration with Zynga in August. Titled Azadi Quest: Match 3 Puzzle and Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat, the goal behind these app games is to educate, entertain and engage not only the older generation, but the younger audience as well. “These games are an effort to tap into the huge market of online gamers and to educate them through games. Azadi Quest is an effort to make this learning of this knowledge engaging and interactive,” said Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of the Union, Information and Broadcasting, to BrandWagon Online.
According to the team involved in creating these games, the idea was conceptualized during Expo Dubai 2022 in March, during which Thakur held informal meetings with various game industry players and launched the idea among them. It is believed that the government has been trying for some time to launch a product or initiative that would allow them to reach an older audience and tap into the minds of younger audiences. The idea for the game came about after the Prime Minister’s speech last year at the 2021 Toycathon, where he stressed that government departments should do something with freedom fighters to showcase their stories through games and toys. Keeping this in mind, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting partnered with Zynga, an American game developer that runs social video game services, in May and work began in June 2022.
From concept to delivery
According to industry experts, three key factors go into creating a game: infrastructure, content, and value proposition (level of engagement). Normally, it takes around seven to eight months to build and deploy a game, with around 15 to 30 days set aside as a buffer period. However, in this case, the goal was to roll out the games around August 15th. According to Zynga, the fact that the company already had game developers, artists, game designers, and animators in-house was a big part of enabling the game to be delivered on time.
Post this, comes the content hurdle. For this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting worked in tandem with the Directorate of Publications Division (DPD) for data collection. Due to time and space constraints, it was decided that the game would only cover the history that took place between 1857 and 1947. The final content was sent to the experts of the Indian Council of Historical Research ( ICHR) for verification.
Moreover, the ministry’s challenge was to water down enormous historical data into a few words and present it in a form that was engaging and fun and not just educational. It was here that the Zynga team crafted a game that engaged its audience by offering information as rewards, making it an engaging trivia game. “We wanted to develop the Azadi Quest: Match 3 and Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat games to encourage young gamers to experience our country’s history while having fun,” said Kishore Kichili, Senior Vice President, Games and country manager, Zynga India. .
Additionally, it was imperative that the game be available in regional languages as well. Hence, the game was rolled out not only in English but also in Hindi. Currently, almost 40% of players choose to play in Hindi. Going forward, the plan is to integrate more regional languages for greater reach.
Launched in August, Azadi Quest: Match 3 currently has over 50,000 downloads on Google Play Store. The game has 75 milestones, including the most important milestones between 1857 and 1947. While currently it has 495 levels and 75 cards, placed across the levels, the aim is to further enrich the content in the future . What sets the game apart from others is the fact that these 75 cards are presented to players as a reward for completing levels. According to data provided by Zynga, the game sees high engagement with more than 20 levels per day attempted on average. Moreover, the game has five stars on Apple App Store and 4.5 stars on Google Play.
● Both, Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat and Azadi Quest: Match 3, have been downloaded about 1 lakh times since its launch. The daily install rate for both games is over a thousand downloads.
● With a 5-star rating on Apple AppStore and a 4.6 rating on Google Playstore, Azadi Quest: Puzzle Match 3 has been installed over 70,000 times on both platforms.
● More than 35% of players play this game in Hindi and about 2000 players play it daily.
● With 4.7 ratings on Google Playstore and 4.5 ratings on Apple Appstore, Heroes of Bharat has had over 20,000 downloads on Android and Apple.
● More than 46% of players play this game in Hindi. on average, each player answers about 67 questions per day.
● Each player unlocks an average of 3.5 azadi veer cards every day.
As for the second game Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat, the game has over 10,000 downloads on Google Play and enjoys a 4.9 rating on Google Play. Presented as a trivia game, this game was created with the aim of providing information as well as challenging players with different questions. It has 75 levels and each level has 10 questions. A user must answer these questions and once cleared, the player will receive an Azadi card from an unsung hero. According to Zynga, the game has seen strong engagement with players attempting an average of 60 questions per day. For Kichili, everyone on the Zynga team came together to make this happen under a tight deadline. “It’s wonderful to see the reception the games have received.”
Rewards (Azadi cards) can be shared by players on their social networks. Also, at the end of the game, the player receives a certificate of completion. The ministry also plans to highlight players who have completed all levels by giving them souvenirs, books and broadcasting them through Doordarshan.
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