BENGALURU: The number 1 free game on Google Play Store isn’t a Temple Run or a Candy Crush or a Clash of Clans variant.
It’s a tired, old British board game having origins in medieval India that Vikash Jaiswal developed for mobile phones.
Ludo King, published by his gaming startup Gametion, has topped the list since May 2017 with more than 50 million installations on Android phones.
Jaiswal, 40, began thinking about developing the game three years ago and eventually launched it in December 2016.
“We introduced the concept of four people being able to play with four individual dice, which was key in making the game click,” he said.
Ludo King shot to prominence almost immediately after launch, jumping to top rankings in the first quarter of 2017 on both Google Play and Apple App stores in India, according to a representative of San Francisco-based research firm App Annie.
The game has about 10 million daily active users, with 80% of them coming from India and the rest from international markets such as Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
Jaiswal, hai ling from Patna, Bihar, was a tech lead at Indiagames for nearly four years before he decided to resign and star t his own company in 2008.
“I started a small company in Mumbai with just five-six people.
We started with online games for desktop users and had 20 million unique users coming to the website.
We moved to mobile gaming in 2013 and published several games, including Snakes and Ladders, on the Apple App store, but these were all average,” said Jaiswal. It’s played mostly by 18-35-yearolds but also retirees.
And on average, a player spends 15-16 minutes a day on the game, according to the company. Gaming industry analysts say Ludo King is the first among homegrown casual mobile games to have such user stickiness.