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Zapak Goes Mobile With Zapak.mobi; Turn Based Games

Reliance Entertainment company Zapak is in the process of setting up a mobile site – Zapak.mobi . The GPRS based mobile gaming site allows users to play against others, play single player games, chat with their opponents, and there’s an inbox on offer too. Some details here. Zapak appears to have tied up with Cotopia for the service, as well as the games. A few points:

The Product
The games require MIDP2 support. I downloaded three games – Chess, Reversi and Connect4, and the downloads were fairly small – 70kb, 58kb and 64kb respectively, though it did take 3-4 minutes for the download to begin and the game to be installed. Interestingly, each game is accessible separately in the menu, instead of, as a part of a single application, like in case of the Boonty tie-up. I wonder if Zapak will have more than Cotopia’s apparent bouquet of 7 games. Hovr also has GPRS based games, and powers Indiatimes‘ mobile gaming service; there was also a deal between Greystripe and the Anand Bazar Patrika group for a portal called Mjoy4free, but the site isn’t loading anymore and I wonder if that the end of that. Do let me know if you’re able to access – Mjoy4free.

The Games

What’s interesting is that Zapak has continued its multi-player focus – their multiplayer rooms online are quite crowded, and player-vs-player has always been more fun than player-vs-computer.  It’s important to note that these are turn based games, and unlike racing, do not require a significant, continuous connectivity. Given the current GPRS speeds and quality of connectivity, only turn based games will work. I’m not going to talk about how 3G is going to open this space up – because we don’t know when that will be. So far, Zapak has a fairly limited bouquet of games – Chess, Reversi, TicTacToe, BattleBlocks (Tetris) and Connect4

Monetization – The games are free-to-play and monetization is likely to be similar to that of Hovr – a few splash screens before the applications and the games load, and these can be replaced with display ads. Zapak’s sister concern Jump Games has been pushing for the adoption of advergaming as a branding model, so lets see if there’s a partnership there.

Still Being Developed and Tested
— The integration with with Zapak accounts is yet to take place, but is imminent – I had to create a new account to try it out.
— If you see the screencap of the Chess screen – the white area above and below the chess board – that’s an issue. The usability is poor and there is no navigation while a game is progress – I couldn’t go to my inbox, cancel the game.
— I like the chatting option (being a troll), but while the game was in progress, I was only able to respond when the opponent messaged me. Given the messages, I suspect that was a bot I was playing against, and not a real person.

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