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WebChutney Launches Gaming Biz FITH Media; First Game Nikal Padi

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It’s been a long time coming, and WebChutney has finally launched its gaming business FITH Media (which stands for Fire In The Hole). The launch of the gaming business comes shortly after WebChutney launched its publishing business, with the “Life And Times Of Roger Federer App” for iOs devices. 

They’ve released an Android game called Nikal Padi, with great graphics, although the filesize, at 12 MB is rather large, particularly for this game. The name (Nikal Padi) is a colloquial reference to the need to go the loo, and those playing the game have to rotate pipes in a particular sequence to design a continuous pipeline to the tap, and then rotate the valve so the character can fill his bucket with water and rush to the loo before the time runs out.

This is WebChutney’s second game, after “Chidiya Udi”, which it had launched on the Apple App Store in December 2011. Note that nothing’s quite become of WebChutney’s game development outsourcing partnership with One97*, inked in March 2011.


In an email to MediaNama, WebChutney founder Sidharth Rao said that their idea is to build quality games focused on Indian market, with Indian sensibilities. At present, we noticed that there is no monetization in place – no advertising runs within the app or before it, and the app is free to download. Rao says that they want to understand the mobile space quickly. “We are doing a lot of work in creating unique content for mobile, working with brands, as well as VAS operators with all types of content / applications”, says Rao, adding that “We are meeting a lot of brands targeting youth to see what we can do together.”


Why This Brand Focus?

We tried the game, the gameplay is easy to understand, and also seems familiar. The first couple of levels were easy, but the game game becomes progressively more challenging.

As difficult as it is to say this about a game about taking a shit, the opportunity for FITH Media is to expand this franchise: the character created is clearly identifiable, and the gameplay is interesting and can be developed upon.

The gaming business is unpredictable, and you never know what might work. If it clicks, there’s an opportunity for company to integrate advertising, retail ad-free apps, and provide different levels at a cost. What I don’t get is that last statement that Rao makes about working with brands: what’s with the brand advertising blinkers that WebChutney wears? Why depend on advertising and brand support for games, when you can build and own IP? This almost looks like a proof of concept, in that light.

Also, why target the Indian market when you can create a global IP?

(We tried calling Rao, but there was no response. We’ll update when we hear from him)

P.s.: in case you didn’t notice, the first game from Fire In the Hole Media is Nikal Padi. Not surprising, from WebChutney.

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  • Nikhil: Thanks for the post. To clarify about the blinkers bit, as an agency we want to get mobile right & we believe that if we don’t understand this space quickly and how it could be relevant for us and marketers, we will lose the plot. All digital agencies in India are desktop internet agencies mostly, the next hundred million users on the internet will be mobile first and blah blah…. We are trying really hard to get ready for it. which is why we have been ‘screwing around seriously’ in this space. 

    Working with brands is something we think is worth considering since most brands now understand the relevance of great content and are behaving more like publishers than before. We are fairly convinced that traditional marketing methods don’t work too well strategically on mobile (SMS ads / banners etc.) and just like brands are going to the lengths of creating TV ips for consumers now (Dewarists / Coke Studio etc.) so also they should be looking at owning entertainment on the phone. 

    Having said that, this is one of the many things we want to do with games, we’re also working directly with telcos and other partners to really understand mobile. In-app purchases etc are also going to be explored. 
    Net net, we will all find out. hopefully will have stuff to share about our learnings soon either way! Be it Turkeys or successes,  WebChutney has never been afraid to take chances and make bets. :P

    *braces himself for trollers having a field day*

    • Okay. Honestly, I see trying to go the brand way as a bit of a cop-out right now, because you relinquish ownership of the IP. See what happened to Hungama, which was creating Java games for brands, versus guys like Indiagames and Nazara who now own IP. I understand that you’re limiting your cost, but you’re also limiting your upside to what the brand pays you. 

      Haven’t answered the question on why only target the Indian market. :)

      • We will try everything Nikhil. Own / Co-Own / Build. Try & monetize from end users and also explore brands. From the little i that i understand, IndiaGames is where they are because of years and years of pioneering work. The clock is ticking on new entrants faster, well at least for us. :) What’s of utmost importance to us, is to figure this out “fiscally” and fast! Dekhte hain!  On the India focused games, we are very confident that the market will be big enough locally as well. Everyone is trying to build mobile games for global *domination*. I would be happy if we made a dent locally first. Look at some of our viral hits, there are the cat videos that get 100 million views, some of our viral videos got 5 million. I can live with that. Also, it just gives the team more focus, we know more about what we should do when its the local context. 

        • Having some skin in the game, massive props to you for trying to develop India specific content. BUT, not focusing on the ecosystem – of which monetization is a strong part, will result in the same old story being repeated, as “pioneers” like Indiagames have found out to their cost. Stumbling across an Angry Birds on your 52nd attempt, if you do stick to it in a “fiscally” oriented mindset, might be the road to hell paved with good intentions. But hey, the only failure is a failure to try!

      • Rude of me to jump into a 2-way but ownership of IP is not a holy grail in itself. Making money is…by making good games. Do you think Indiagames and Nazara have done that, fancy company valuations and M&As notwithstanding…

  • Ganeshan Nadarajan

    The gaming business is unpredictable. If it clicks, there’s an opportunity for company to integrate advertising, retail ad-free apps, and provide different levels at a cost.

  • Anonymous

    Sidharth, Big mistake I’ve seen in all “development” for the Indian market/consumer  is to  treat them as some kind of technical neanderthal/potty humor demographic.
    Your target audience has access to the best in the world. I see this game and see a poor implementation of Rocketmania, which has been on the web for over a decade now.
    No physics at all here.
    It’s physics based games that get you IP AND traction. Angry birds has superb physics, as an example. Also, the mobile device needs to be understood as it’ sown universe, not just a smaller window into the web/cloud or whatever you want to call it.

    Your creative team needs to UP the ante, not muck around (!!) in potty humor, visually and/or verbally.
    Quality in initial output is Paramount.

    My 2 paise.