Would a mobile game about parking a car make any sense? Before you answer, remember the caveat that mobile games are intended to entertain and not to frustrate.
The logical answer is “no”. But logic was defeated last month when a “parking game” of my company reached the top spot of the world gaming ranks on the Apple iTunes store.
This game was made in India and sold to the world.
This success helps me prove a personal theory that has a balanced “yin and yang”. My theory is that the best digital content of the world will be made in India, and sold to the world.
What’s the yin?
- We have the largest trained and competent engineering talent in the world: Making software like “mobile apps” is like learning to fly a kite, not flying a plane. The “software kits” provided by Apple and Google are now simple enough for almost anyone to make apps. For Indian programmers, it’s like learning the two times table!
- We speak English: Most downloads of apps come from English speaking countries. And we speak and think in English better than most people.
What’s the yang?
- Bollywood inspires us: Bollywood is ingrained in Indian heads. And Bollywood is absurd. In Bollywood movies, bankers effortlessly break out into a song and dance routine, run around trees to woo elusive damsels; and wealthy, well educated heroines marry gardeners and run away to live in slums. Hey, the absurdness of Bollywood inspired an Indian like me to build a car parking game – an activity I hate doing but love playing! (Yes, makes no sense!)
- The chaos of Indian life is great game level design: Getting a passport in India is like playing Angry Birds. It’s complicated and not easy after a few levels. It takes a few weeks and intense concentration to get accomplished. Getting a voters card in India is like mastering the latest heavy-duty console game. It takes lots of maneuvering and masquerading. Doing anything in India takes lots of patience, calibration, trial and error – the perfect requirement for great game design. We are natural game level designers because that’s what our life teaches us.
Capital and Spirit. As far as capital goes, Indian entrepreneurs don’t meet venture capitalists who shower entrepreneurs with rain bucks to “try and build the next big thing”. In India, VCs want to fund manufacturing and power plants. As far as “spirit” goes, it’s still not sexy to go to a cocktail party and say, “I make games.” The answer expected is, “I make cement and copper tubes.”
I say, forget the old and embrace the new. The big, big world of entertainment awaits us and we must seize the moment. Carpe everything.