9Game:Teen Patti - Indian Poke is popular among gamers. For many centuries Ganjifa cards were used in India to play a variety of games.
Octro, the company behind Teen Patti, has received Series A round of funding of $15 million from Sequoia Capital. Besides Teen Patti, it also has a game based on Rummy and launched a digital version ofTambola a few weeks back. Teen Patti and Rummy are currently among the top five games in multiple categories on Google Play.
Teen Patti, the game, looks similar to to Zynga Poker and is available for iOS and Android. What makes these games so popular is that you get to play against real people including your friends as opposed to bots.
Octro was started by Saurabh Aggarwal as a VoIP company in 2006, but pivoted to games at some stage. There are no advertisements in their games and Octro monetizes the game through in-app transactions. It claims to have a daily active user base of 2 million.Octro competes against companies such as Adda52 and Mango Games. While Adda52 offers poker and rummy, Mango Games, which raised an undisclosed amount of funding earlier this year, offers rummy games. Then there was also Bangalore-based Bash Gaming that was acquired by GSN Games for $160 million earlier this year.
There have been a few questions about the legality of such games in India, but thegeneral consensus is that it is okay as long as the games do not involve real money. That being the case, companies such as Adda52 let people buy virtual currency and when they organise tournaments, offer mobilephones and tablets to winners instead of cash.
Disclosure: MediaNama founder Nikhil Pahwa’s cousin Gaurav Banga sits on the board of Octro.