The Naspers and TenCent owned social networking site Ibibo has now made its social games available on Google’s Chrome web store. The games include titles such as Mumbai Underworld, TeenPatti, Rummy, Yes Prime Minister, Connect Four & CricEx which can be downloaded free of charge, and played on the browser without logging onto the Ibibo website. This follows the September launch of the Chrome Web Store in the Indian market, with India specific browser apps.
The games can be played by clicking on the app icon in the browser and logging-in via one’s Ibibo or Google credentials. The games also allow the purchase of virtual goods and currency through a web-link supported by Nasper’s own payments service, PayU. Although this will increase the visibility of Ibibo’s games and help in pulling-in new users, who would otherwise not log onto Ibibo, it also means that the games will compete with the likes of Plants VS Zombies, Angry Birds, Monster Dash and others. Ibibo’s games feature multi-player social gameplay, which differentiates them from other non-multiplayer games, plus games like Teen Patti are based on popular Indian games. Also, the ‘Yes Prime Minister’ role-playing game leverages on the current graft situation involving the Lok Pal Bill, which would interest Indian gamers.
We wonder if Ibibo will also showcase games developed under its Ibibo Open development platform on the Chrome app store. We’ve not heard anything new after the initial announcement in July.
On the mobile apps front, Ibibo has launched new games namely Mumbai Underworld, Free Rummy and Cricardo on Android, after launching Teenpatti earlier. While Mumbai Underworld is still a web shell wrapped into an app, the other ones are full featured apps with support for multi-player social gaming.
Interestingly, the Free Rummy game has a ‘Real Cash’ version where users can buy virtual cash and win real cash. Users can buy virtual cash through their credit cards upto Rs 10,000 and withdraw cash from their virtual accounts by providing their bank account info. Ibibo categorically mentions on its website that ‘Online Rummy game is a game of skill.It is absolutely legal to play with real cash and win real cash prizes. Rummy was declared to be a game of skill by the Honorable Supreme Court of India in 1968.’ However, it looks like Google did not accept this argument.
This version can only be downloaded directly from the Ibibo website through a link provided within the Free Rummy game, bypassing the Android Market. We assume that since the Market terms & conditions do not allow ‘content or services that facilitate online gambling, including but not limited to, online casinos, sports betting and lotteries’, the game was not submitted or was rejected. It could also be possible that since the developer has to offer an authorized Payment Processor as the payment option for in-app purchases, the app must have not fallen in line with the policy.