JetSynthesys’ Sachin Saga Cricket Champions: Revisiting Master Blaster

by January 4, 2018 0 comments

Within less than a week of its release, JetSynthesys’ Sachin Saga Cricket Champions has become one of the top-most downloaded games on Google Play.  The game was launched on 7th December by the Master Blaster himself, and is giving the fans an opportunity to relive the legend’s career by stepping into his shoes.

Roopak Nair, Vice President – Product and Marketing at JetSynthesys

After getting over 1.00 MN downloads in less than a week of launch Roopak Nair, Vice President – Product and Marketing at JetSynthesys, talks about this popular Indian Cricket game. “Sachin Saga is our brand new project and seeing great user feedback in India and globally and has a million plus downloads in just a few days. Besides we have seen good response for older smartphone games like Being Salman, Women’s Cricket etc. which are distributed and published by us in multiple countries. Each new game instills new learning’s in the development team and new benchmarks for us to beat, so I would say the best is yet to come.” 

What is the reason behind developing Celebrity games?

Celebrities touch a chord with our nation. It’s a known fact that Bollywood and Cricket garners the most attention amongst a billion Indians, hence it was a conscious choice to develop games featuring top celebrities in these spaces. With celebrities, the marketing and acquisition costs for new users become much lesser ensuring longer sustenance for the game. However, a celebrity game needs to be done justice to in terms of meeting the quality standards that players are expecting, and ensuring the celebrity is engaged in the development cycle, so that it is a true reflection of what he or she would have liked to see in the game and it connects with the fans.

Tell us about the USPs your latest game “Sachin Saga Cricket Champions”

The JetSynthesys team worked on this project for two years and did motion-captures of Sachin batting at a high-tech studio in London where a James Bond movie had been filmed. Sachin had to wear a special suit with 26 to 27 receptors on his body, which captured the body movements and footwork while he displayed his batting skills. 36 cameras were used for the shooting which makes the shot making experience super realistic in the game and mapped the minutest quirk in his batting style as if you were seeing him on television. The game has easy controls, dulcet background music, great graphics, along with commentary and replays so everyone can pick up and play. The game will enable fans to experience Sachin’s journey in the ‘Legend’ mode, which is one of the two modes that the game offers. Each match starts with a description of what Tendulkar’s contribution was, and why the match was significant for him and features interesting trivia that fans may not know. Real match situations, and the vicarious satisfaction of scoring Tendulkar’s runs, makes the game stand out, allowing them to experience sheer nostalgia, like the 155 in the Chennai Test Match in 1998 against Australia. In Events mode you get to Build your dream team and play a full game as a 11-man squad in up to 50 over matches and compete with real players in the game to fight for the top spot in leaderboards, and over 100 Legendary cricketers to be collected and added to your team from recent teams and yesteryears.

A game of the master blaster, it will surely have many takers, how did the journey to the Sachin Saga Cricket Champions start? What can cricket lovers expect from it?

It started 2 Years back when we had the idea of making a cricket game which stands out. India is a cricket crazy nation but with better smartphones, data and new hardware, we knew we could really push the edge in terms of realism, graphics that makes the experience true to life for the gamer and the cricket fan. Sachin wanted to ensure, that this not yet another cricket game, but one where you need an element of timing to actually play your shots and clear the boundaries like in the real world. So this game is easy to pick up and play but is super fun and takes time to master!

Where did the idea emerge from?

It was the vision of the management team at JetSynthesys, where we believe in ABCD of digitizing India and touching a billion lives through the digital medium. Cricket is an integral part of that vision and games have become a part of daily lives in India, with over a billion downloads annually and growing rapidly each year. Thus it made sense to make a game on the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, who has captured every Indian’s imagination and our hearts for over 24 Years.

How was your experience about this collaboration with Sachin Tendulkar?

From a Game Development stand point it was incredible working with Sachin. Sachin wanted to make this game as real as possible, so we got great feedback and nuances from him about cricket, how the different pitches behave around the world, how it is to face reverse swing and step down the track to hit spinners out of the park. We worked to bring those aspects into the game. He hand-picked his most important matches, so fans can relive that journey and it was amazing to Motion-Capture all his 28 shots, and work with him on perfecting everything in the game, so it becomes super authentic.

What are your views on the response the game has received till now?

Sachin Saga was the first cricket game to announce around a million pre-registrations before launch. The game also crossed a million downloads in under a week of its launch on December 7th , which was quite incredible, and is rated highly by users. Users are playing the game for over an hour a day, with top players spending 2 plus hours a day playing the game. We are also now in the Top 100 Grossing apps in India which is strong indication of the fun and engagement players are finding in the game. We have over 400,000 players who enjoy the game daily now and thousands of players who compete every day on the leaderboards. Players are asking for more, so we are planning to announce a special update for Sachin Saga in the near future.

How is Sachin Saga different from any other mobile cricket game?

Sachin Saga is a game that is “As Real as it Gets”. The motion capture, top-notch graphics and realism was kept in mind when developing this title. As a player you will experience swing, spin and the pitch conditions as you play this game, which you may not find in other games. So it is definitely an authentic experience, a test of player skill and its fun mastering this over time, which is why we see great engagement and feedback from fans.  It’s a great game to test yourself against other players, build the best teams you like, compete alongside others on leader board events which run from a single day to a few days. Seeing yourself rise the leader boards and beat others is certainly an amazing experience.

What are the projects you currently working on? And tell us more about your R&D center?

We will continue developing Sachin Saga and there is a full pipeline of features like Tournaments, Multiplayer etc. planned in future updates of the game. Besides Sachin Saga we are developing games catering to the Action, RPG and Casual audiences in India and around the world. We are also going to be releasing Virtual Reality focused games next year, since we believe a true cross platform experience is important for every product.

Our R&D is focused on using Artificial Intelligence and Deep Data Mining. With over 10million players on games across our studio, it’s important we personalize the experience for every player. So the algorithms can now predict relatively accurately how to raise difficulty levels in a game as per player skill, offer the right packs for players to buy, even run advertisements which are non-intrusive and aid in player journey, which has shown high levels of player engagement with the ads we have in our properties.

What are the key business opportunities to target sales in India?

In Gaming, it’s a fast emerging market with 1Bn+ downloads on mobile games annually, so there are amazing opportunities for developing games across all genres, and catering to different kinds of player demographics. From a revenue perspective it is either in-app purchases, subscription models, advertising or brand integrations in games. We have seen that depending on the type of the game you can customize those levers accordingly. For e.g. in competitive games the focus is more on in-app purchases whereas in casual games you can focus more on advertising and brand integration models. In-App purchases are improving in India so it makes sense for a developer to have deep engagement in the game, where the players don’t mind spending money on a quality experience.

With commitment to Government’s ‘Make in India’ and such other initiatives what is the future of mobile gaming space in India?

Mobile Gaming has a bright future. A combination of smart phone adoption, high data consumption at low prices and local gaming content being created for India, augurs really well for this segment. The Billion plus downloads annually and the rate at which this is accelerating is mind blowing for the sector as a whole. So I would imagine that governments’ Make in India initiatives to improve the data infrastructure, develop smartphones locally with good hardware and graphics capabilities, and affordable prices for phones will really enable the next billion Indians to join this gaming ecosystem. Additionally, financial inclusion driven by the Government Initiatives like UPI and mobile payments ecosystem will bring 400 million plus Indians into the formal economy and enable them to transact in games which they have fun with. So the real opportunity awaits this segment over the next decade and I expect to see a hockey stick growth in terms of revenues and consumer adoption in the next few years.

What are the trends you are following in providing digital content?

As the new millennial generation rapidly adopts music, gaming, OTT etc. and primarily through mobile phones, the shift has already happened in terms of consumers deciding what they want to engage with and how much. So the digital enterprise of the future has to focus on addressing their unique needs in terms of product quality on low and high end devices, data consumption, streaming, server infrastructures to handle millions of users, online and real-time play in 2G and 3G networks and low attention spans of this segment. In addition, the next billion user opportunity means developing products that cater to users in rural markets, towns and tier 3 cities, and hence local consumption trends, localization in major languages, ease of use of the product for new smart phone users who haven’t navigated complex apps in the past are also important to keep in mind.

How e-sports can be looked upon in India, Is this can be one of the career options? 

e-Sports is definitely an emerging trend and so is mobile Sports (m-Sports). The e-Sports market has a loyal fan following in India from those who play games like Dota and CounterStrike Go, on PC & Console and few teams who are the best players of these games at a national and international level . Indian’s at large are quite new to this phenomenon, so definitely this is an opportunity to engage millions of hardcore gamers in India and create entertainment while millions others watch this spectacle on Television, Twitch or YouTube. The new emerging market is also mobile Sports where games with strong engagement and competition can be streamed live to thousands of fans globally, provided the rewards for hardcore players are super exciting. As a career, it’s a sunrise opportunity but would take a few more years to mature as full-fledged options.

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