How the government’s Azadi Quest online games have caused a ripple in the gaming industry

When India celebrated 75 years of independence on August 15, one of the government’s goals had been to honor the struggle of unsung heroes for independence. In line with this year’s theme of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) launched two games in August in collaboration with Zynga. Titled Azadi Quest: Match 3 Puzzle and Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat, the aim behind these applied games is to educate, entertain and engage not only the older generation but also the younger audience. “These games are an attempt to tap into the huge market of online gamers and educate them through games. Azadi Quest is an effort to make this learning of this knowledge engaging and interactive,” Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister, Information and Broadcasting, told BrandWagon Online.

According to the team involved in creating these games, the idea was conceptualized during Dubai Expo 2022 in March, where Thakur held informal meetings with various players in the game industry and put the idea forward among them. It is believed that the government has been trying for some time to launch a product or initiative that will allow it to reach an older audience and appeal to the minds of the young audience. The idea for the game arose after the Prime Minister’s speech at Toycathon 2021 last year, where he pointed out that ministries should do something with the freedom fighters to bring their stories to the fore through both games and toys. With this in mind, the Department of Information and Broadcasting partnered with Zynga, an American game developer that operates social video game services, in May, and work began in June 2022.

From concept to delivery

According to industry experts, there are three main factors that come into play when creating a game infrastructure, content and value proposition (engagement level). It normally takes about seven to eight months to create and roll out a game, with almost 15-30 days as a buffer period. In this case, however, the aim was to roll out the games around August 15. According to Zynga, the fact that the company already had in-house game developers, artists, game designers and animators went a long way toward delivering the game on time.

Post this, comes the hurdle of content. For this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting worked together with the Publications Directorate (DPD) for the data collection. Due to the limitations of time and space, it was decided that the game will only cover the history that took place between 1857-1947. The final content was sent to experts from the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) for examination.

In addition, the ministry’s challenge was to downsize huge historical data to a few words and present it in a form that is engaging and fun and not just educational. It’s here that Zynga’s team designed a game that appealed to 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 players to learn about the history of our country while having fun,” said Kishore Kichili, senior vice president. , games and country head, Zynga India, .

In addition, it was imperative that the game be available in regional languages ​​as well. Therefore, the game has been rolled out not only in English but also in Hindi. Currently, almost 40% of players choose to play in Hindi. In the future, it is planned to include more regional languages ​​for greater reach.

The result

Azadi Quest: Match 3, launched in August, currently has over 50,000 downloads on the Google Play Store. The game has 75 milestones, consisting of the major milestones between 1857-1947. While it currently has 495 levels and 75 cards spread across the levels, it aims 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 Zynga’s data, the game is seeing high engagement with an average of over 20 levels per day. The game also has five stars in the Apple App Store and 4.5 stars in Google Play.

Performance stat

Both, Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat and Azadi Quest: Match 3 Puzzle, have been downloaded about 1 lakh times since launch. The daily installation speed of both games is over a thousand downloads.
● With a rating of 5 stars in the Apple AppStore and a rating of 4.6 in the Google Playstore, Azadi Quest: Match 3 puzzle has been installed more than 70,000 times on both platforms.
● More than 35% players play this game in Hindi and about 2000 players play this game daily.
● With 4.7 ratings in Google Playstore and 4.5 ratings in Apple Appstore, Heroes of Bharat has registered about 20K+ downloads on Android and Apple.
● More than 46% 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 feather cards every day.

As for the second game Azadi Quest: Heroes of Bharat, the game has over 10,000 downloads on Google Play and has a rating of 4.9 on Google Play. Touted as a trivia game, this game was created with the intention of providing information and challenging players with various questions. It has 75 levels and each level has 10 questions. A user has to answer these questions and once cleared, the player is given an Azadi card from an unsung hero. According to Zynga, the game has seen high engagement with players attempting an average of 60 questions per day. For Kichili, everyone on Zynga’s team came together to make this happen within a tight deadline. “It’s great to see how the games have been received.”

The rewards (Azadi cards) can be shared by the players on their social media. In addition, at the end of the game, the player receives a completion certificate. The Ministry also plans to showcase the players who have completed all levels by giving them momentos and books and airing them through Doordarshan.

Also read: The GST Conundum in the Gaming Industry: How the 28% Tax on Competition Fees Will End Gaming Industry Growth

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