Empower labs claims to be India’s First Augmented Reality Gaming Company and to win the game you’ll have to connect and collaborate with real people to do so!
Two and a half years ago, a startup company named Niantic Inc., while being incubated within Google, had launched a game called ‘Ingress’ which is an online role-playing game, based on augmented reality. The game has clocked over 14 million downloads and has added over 1 million active users since then! Now, a Hyderabad-based startup company called Empower Labs Pvt. Ltd. is looking to re-create that success. This company claims to be the first gaming venture out of India to bring augmented reality into mobile gaming. It has launched a game called ‘Delta T’ which is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) that will entertain non-casual gamers by giving them a serious gameplay. India, being one of the fastest-growing gaming markets in the world, has seen a tremendous rise in mobile gamers since the year 2014. The gaming market in India has grown at an annual rate of 49.2% since 2014 and Empower is looking to tap into this opportunity and ofcourse benefit from it.
About the game
Delta T is a real-time strategy game in which users need to travel, meet and strategize with fellow gamers in the real world to win in the virtual world! When a player logs into Delta T, he or she can see his or her actual location using the mobile phone’s GPS and he or she can also see the locations of other players nearby. The 300 meters around the player is the battlefield. Every time that a player changes his or her location (temporarily), that player will be presented with a new map to play on depending on his or her location. This is a unique feature of the game that the co-founder, Mr. Rao boasts of. The game has both offensive and defensive weapons, and the gamer has to unlock them by accomplishing certain tasks in the game and playing different levels of the game. The inventory is also unlocked by playing different levels in the game. Once the player has an inventory, he or she has to place the offensive weapons on the lanes beside him or her. This is a real time, turn-based strategy game in which a player has 30 seconds to place his or her offensive weapons and the other player will also get 30 seconds to place his or her weapons. After 60 seconds, the weapons go against each other. So in the end, whoever has the most energy and health, wins the game.
“The best way to understand augmented reality is that we are trying to source digital information onto the physical world. What we are planning to do with our game is to take the GPS location of the person and make him interact with real-life people, places and objects in order to play the game,” said Mr. Rao.
The game is now available for Android users. Empower Labs plans to launch the iOS version of it in Canada and Finland in October, 2016.
About the founders
Mr. Krishna Milan Rao, Mr. Karthik Chandra Isola and Mr. Nelvin Joseph had co-founded Empower Labs in February 2015. Mr. Rao graduated from Purdue University and Empower Labs is his first full-time job and venture. Mr. Isola previously worked at his father’s company, Sreepathi Pharmaceuticals, where he took care of operations and business development and Mr. Joseph had previously founded an artificial intelligence company called ‘Artin Dynamics’.
Empower had raised Rs. 3 crore from two investors in June 2015 and is now looking to raise U.S. $2 million in Series A funding to launch the product in the market.
Empower Pvt. Ltd. now has 23 employees and has tied up with the creative team in the movie ‘Bahubali’ to produce good visual effects in the game.
Sources of revenue
In-app purchases will be the major source of revenue for the company. It is also looking at online-to-offline marketing as another source of revenue. “Since our game is played in the real world, we can make the gamers interact with brands as part of gameplay. We can have in-game branding as well. For example, if we partner with Uber, we can incentivize our gamers to use Uber over rivals with some health or weapons benefits,” Mr. Rao said. He also said that the company could tie up with a health drinks company and monitor, through a barcode, if a player has used that product, to get a health upgrade in the game.
Target users and competition
The Company is targeting full-time serious game players instead of casual game players, like the ones who play Candy Crush. The company has launched trailers in YouTube and is looking to tap the immense potential of the digital media to gain more and more popularity. Mr. Rao said the company’s main competitor is Ingress, launched by Niantic Labs. “We are eyeing 2.5% of the total market by the end of 2018 with 2.5 million downloads globally. In India, we are looking at 750,000 downloads.” Mr. Rao added.
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