I’m an avid Xbox 360 player ( call sign: DJ Ksar) and I love playing games online such as Call of Duty 4 or NBA Live 08. Playing online gets me opportunity play against a new crop of players instead of always playing against my bro Ramsey or friend Justin. However, playing online on Xbox 360 always brings an unknown especially with the advent of voice. When you get connected to the person via Xbox 360 you haven’t developed any trust or really no way to learn more about them. Sure you can play with them again and see if they are online with you but that isn’t a social network just a network, in my mind.
The latest trends in gaming is adding the social aspect which one unsuspected platform has given us – Facebook. The games on Facebook are simple to use and don’t need to be played when both users are online. One player makes a move and the second player makes a move the next time they login.
One of the most popular games on Facebook is Scrabulous, created by two brothers / game developers based in India, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla and is similiar to the old-fashioned board game scrabble. As of publication of this article there was approximately 577,000 active users playing Scrabulous. I interviewed Rajat on February 25, 2008:
DJ Ksar: What is the name of the company you work for and role at the company?
Rajat: I work in RJ Softwares – a website and offshore software services company located in India. I founded this company and currently lead the team.
DJ Ksar: Why did you pick Facebook as the application platform?
Rajat: We are based in India where Orkut is more popular. We had just heard about Facebook in March and I probably signed up for an account but never used it. In June 2007 one of our users from Scrabulous.com contacted us and said that she would like to play it on Facebook.
We looked at Facebook again and saw that it was very easy to port our game to their recently launched developer platform. Even though it was just one user who had requested, we thought we would get it done for her and the version on Facebook was launched by end of June 2007 🙂
DJ Ksar: How did you spread the word on your application/game? Any tips?
Rajat: The game has spread virally through word of mouth. In this regard, the Facebook platform has also been quite helpful as they do have in-built promotion tools such as options to display app information in mini-feeds, profile pages and notifications. This really helps in getting the word out automatically.
DJ Ksar: When was the point where you knew you had a hit on your hands?
Rajat: We realized that our application was a hit in August 2007. By that time we had around 200,000 users and because of technical issues, we had to shut down the application for two days. During that period of time, programmers from across the world offered us free support to help us get back live as soon as possible. It was amazing to have received that kind of community support and when the community is there for you during a crisis, you know you have something good going. In fact, based on the suggestions of some of the programmers, we were able to get it live within 24 hours!
DJ Ksar: What is next for you? Are you planning any enhancements to your game or building a new one?
Rajat: We have just launched our Chess game which is known as ChessPro on Facebook. At the same time we are working on a large number of enhancements and new gaming applications. Should be coming out quickly!
DJ Ksar: When you are not playing Scrabulous or developing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies?
Rajat: Scrabulous and RJ Softwares are my primary interests! If I need a break, I might end up playing table-tennis, squash, read a book, or watch a nice movie.
DJ Ksar: Where do you live?
Rajat: I’m based in Kolkata (Calcutta), India which is on the Eastern side of the country.
DJ Ksar: Thanks for your time and looking forward future games from your company.
About DJ Ksar
Randy Ksar on his spare time when not accepting friend requests on Facebook is an avid marathoner and fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. His next marathon is March 16, 2008 in Rome, Italy and is running in honor of his friend Erika who passed away January ’07 from leukemia and his friend Jack who is suffering from Myeloma. To support cancer research and patient services such as peer support groups, educational seminars, and financial aid, make a 100% tax-deductible donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at http://www.active.com/donate/tntsvmb/rome08.