BT MindRush game: Are you the bright spark!

Shamni Pande        Last Updated: December 15, 2013  | 00:08 IST
BT MindRush game: Are you the bright spark!
Photo: M Zhazo

The packed audience for Business Today's two-day premier event at Oberoi, Gurgaon, was all ready to roll up its sleeves by pre-noon session on Friday.

Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Co-Founder, Games2Win, had an interesting proposition in the form of a case study for business heads and CEOs: "I have built and sold businesses every five years and I want a case to be solved for a problem that I faced with one of my business," he said.

He asked the audience to imagine they were CEOs of a $ 5-million, funded, online gaming business that creates 100 unique online games. It has grown to a point where it generates massive traffic -- 5 million monthly unique visitors within 18 months of inception.

As the audience gets primed to the case, Kejriwal presents the problem that needs resolution: the traffic plummets in its 19th month and virtually crashes by 22nd month. Internal investigations reveal that over 3,000 websites have stolen all company's 100 games!

Now, the gloomy facts: The pirates are small, untraceable web companies, all outside India. Web games cannot be protected. Like most softwares, they easily get stolen. "The investors are getting anxious, and every new game the company makes gets stolen within 12 hours of its launch on the worldwide web," says Kejriwal. This effectively means that the company is a feasting ground for web vultures.

The audience was distributed the case docket and given time to write down their solution to the problem. Kejriwal had to pour over 50 suggestions and he was back in the evening to present the winner.

As it turned out, he did find a solution that came touching distance to what he actually ended up implementing to deal with the problem. "Of the suggestion given, about 90 per cent people denied the problem altogether, few challenged it, only one suggestion actually suggested collaboration," he  informed the audience. He announced Vikrant Rai of Adobe to be the winner, who had suggested collaboration as the solution.

FULL COVERAGE: Business Today MindRush 2013

Kejriwal then disclosed what he had actually done to deal with the problem. His firm had launched a game called Bombay Taxi that was stolen by 100,000 websites.

The suggestions in his firm included an interesting hint that they should not deal negatively with the situation. The problem showed them that there were many consumers of the game and many of them were coming from outside India. Hence, these pirates were actually acting as distributors or agents.

Kejriwal and his team decided to take a contrarian approach and created 'Inviziads,' that was placing invisible advertisement in their game. "This was like a Trojon Horse that moved when the game was stolen and it would surface and play at the beginning and in the middle of the game," revealed Kejriwal.

Again, he decided not to have a negative message in the ad: "The online space has its own sub-culture and its own rules and we must tailor our response to it," he said. Hence, every time consumers played the pirated game, they were encouraged, through the ad, to come to the original website to partake in the game and also play other games.

This resulted in him taking his unique visitor count up to 20 million and allowed him to create a new game called Parking Frenzy that become the No. 1 game in the US in June 2012. His parting shot: "Was Napster the same inviziad idea that music companies failed to recognize back then?" Sure, it takes contrarian thinking to succeed and Business Today MindRush was replete with such gems all through.


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