Pakistan: Creating Quite a Stir in the World of Mobile Games
No one could have ever imagined the hype that mobile games would generate. And as year by year new exciting games are being developed, they have as much value as that of computer and video games. Now Pakistan has also been creating quite a stir in the world of mobile games, but let us first see how it all started.
How the Trend of Mobile Game Development Was Initiated
Two decades ago, in 1994 Hagenuk MT-2000 was launched. It was designed and made in Denmark and was the world’s first mobile phone to contain a pre-installed version of the extremely popular game Tetris. However, Nokia was the first among leading mobile manufacturers, to include the game Snake in one of its models in 1997. This met with a lot of success, and many IT companies enthusiastically started working on the concept of games specifically for mobile devices, and thus a new chapter of the software entertainment industry began. Then the New Millennium brought new ideas, developers and publishers, resourceful entrepreneurs and a new range of smart phones.
Apple’s App Store Provided Incentive for Mobile Game Developers
However when Apple introduced its iPhone in 2007, it created a greater incentive to develop games. This was further boosted by the initiation of the ‘App Store’ in 2008 which became a platform where there was a direct interaction between the developers and buyers. Since then people have downloaded 50 billion apps. The App Store currently offers an estimated 900,00 apps which consist of a large variety of mobile games.
Furthermore after witnessing the escalating popularity of mobile games, media giants such Disney, Marvel, Viacom etc are creating such games as well, to have even a stronger hold on their target audiences.
Mobile Games and Pakistan
Pakistan is by no means lagging behind in the area of mobile game development, and in the past several years has made quite a mark in the international market by developing many such games. This is all due to the fact that we have a plethora of qualified and talented young people who have a great interest in software development.
As a result, many companies have been established; mainly in Lahore, but in Karachi and Islamabad as well. What is really encouraging is that a majority of these are the initiatives of young professionals, who have studied from the prestigious universities in the USA etc or have given up their lucrative jobs and have returned, with the sole objective to make a name for Pakistan in the world of mobile game apps. Also we have entrepreneurs who are directly or indirectly linked with key markets in UK, US and Asia.
On the consumer side, like the rest of the world there is a great interest in mobile games in our country because 50% of our population subscribes to the mobile, the wireless and broadband facilities have improved and are easily accessible, while smart phones have become more affordable.
Read on emerging comic talent of Pakistan.
Leading Mobile Game Development Companies: Where the Fun is Created
Following are the major companies that are making top-notch games:
Started by brothers Rizwan and Irfan Virk in 2005, it can be attributed with popularizing ‘aquarium’ mode games on the iPhone. These include Tap Fish, Tap Birds, Tap Town, Tap Mall, Tap Ranch and Titans vs Olympians. The company was acquired by Japan’s DeNA in 2010, which is one of the most thriving mobile Internet Corporations in the world. In 2011 it launched Tap Jurassic, which became so popular that in just 10 days it had 1 million downloads.
The initiative was taken by brothers; Babar and Faraz Ahmed in 2006. In 2009, they created Pakistan’s first PC game to be sold internationally, Cricket Revolution was without doubt a commendable effort. While “Cricket Power”, which was the official online game of the Cricket World Cup 2011, is the most sophisticated 3D browser cricket game ever made. It included all the players of the 14 teams, stadiums and kits. It was downloaded by millions of cricket fans around the world. Then “Whacksy Taxi”, has achieved status of being the No.1 game in over 20 countries. “Mafia Farm” and “Kingdom of Heroes” which were launched in 2012 have been successful too.
Founded by Mohsin Ali Afzal and Waqar Azim in 2010. They create many types of games for all platforms. Among their popular titles are Relief Copter, Pencil Pop and Space Leap. However last year they achieved a great feat by developing Dream Chaser, which is the first ever iOS runner game made in Pakistan and published by ‘Chillingo’, a leading publisher, who has worked with massively popular games such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Contre Jour.
Just last week they launched their latest game called Spin It. It is now available on the Apple App Store. You can also compete with your friends on Facebook and Gamecenter.
Caramel Tech Studios
A brainchild of brothers Saad and Ammar Zaeem. While they have created their own games for mobiles and Facebook, they have worked with big names such as Kabam and Halfbrick studios to develop mega-hits such as Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride and the Stick Sports series.
It is a very successful offshore software services company (one that provides small companies or standalone businessmen a qualified team to develop their required product). It has been developing games for the past 5 years. One of its greatest successes has been in creating a virtual world for children aged between 5 and 14 years called ‘SecretBuilders’. This now has 5 million users worldwide, and is used in over 1600 schools. Not only does it have several awards to its credit, it was also among the Top 10 Websites for Children in 2011. New features are continually added and all the games included in SecretBuilders, can be played on mobiles as well. Currently they are working on several new educational mobile games for children.
Other noteworthy studios include TinTash, TkXel and GenlTeam.
So our mobile games industry is not only removing cultural barriers, it is providing ample opportunities to both male and females, and is also a source of great revenue. Although there is a long way to go before we carve a permanent niche in the global games market, the potential and commitment is very obvious.