Of the 250 million users counted every month, 4.5 million users are from India alone. From housewives to retired folk, every one is hooked to social gaming in the country,” explains Shan Kadavil, country manager of Zynga. What makes Shan’s statistic noteworthy is the fact that Zynga is responsible for creating Facebook’s biggest online social addiction thus far, FarmVille and Mafia Wars.
Based out of San Francisco, Zynga is the world’s fastest growing social gaming company, having cracked the code of making successful games. “We’ve also adapted these games according to regions. For instance, the FarmVille India game includes localised content like auto rickshaws, tractors, Indian seasonal vegetables and poultry. This makes for great user engagement,” opines Shan.
Keeping that paradigm of increasing user engagement in mind, Zynga recently opened the biggest studio in Bengaluru, after its head office in San Francisco. Aside of monitoring content, the Indian studio will also be creating games for social media users from here. Zynga India has already created three of the top five most played games after Mafia Wars and FarmVille, which include Vampire Island, YoVille and CityVille. They are currently in the testing phase of Treasure Island, their most recent game.
Sells in India too
India, according to Shan, is as interested in game development as the First World. “Even though the gaming market share is very little and it’s still considered a traditionally niche genre, we think game development and Bollywood production have a lot in common,” reasons Shan, explaining how both the industries that have a large number of users and viewers, employ creative people and use high-end technology for creation. For that purpose, Zynga has also employed top animators from the FX industry.
Among that talent is Dhimant Vyas, an animator who designed the title sequence for the Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par (2007). “Since Indian animators and special effects experts have also been working on Hollywood productions, it only made sense for us to tap into that potential here,” says Shan.