Mohammed Aboobacker and Navaneeth P.K. have developed popular mobile games based on Malayalam movies
Movies have a way of lingering on in hearts and minds even after the credits roll, and in recent years film goers have had the chance to make the magic last longer by immersing themselves in all the promotional tie-in material.
While Hollywood releases comics and action figures, Bollywood began releasing mobile games related to the movie, a trend that has slowly trickled down the film industry map to reach Kerala.
In a time when the movie landscape witnesses many a bold new move, the magic of the silver screen spills over to the smartphone screen as mobile game tie-ins have begun to emerge.
Mohammed Aboobacker and Navaneeth P.K, co-founders of Kochi-based Mobio Global, have been at the cutting edge of this new trend, having released Android games for the hit film 1983 and following it up with a racing game based on the Mammootty-starrer Gangster. The duo, who are individually incubated at Startup Village, worked on their own projects, Navaneeth on utility apps and Mohammed on digital marketing, before they found common ground. “We were working on consolidating all our various apps under one platform, and it was then that we approached the makers of 1983 with the idea for a game, and they agreed,” says Mohammed, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student at Rajagiri School of Engineering and Technology.
From there one thing led to another and soon they landed the opportunity of creating a game for Gangster. “While we kept things simple with the first game, the new one is a racing game and shooter combined. It also has the distinction of the lead character being modelled on the likeness of Mammootty himself. Both games had reached the Top 50 on the Google Play Store, with 1983 even briefly reaching number three,” says Navaneeth, who is in his first year of Computer Science Engineering at FISAT.
Games aside, their combined portfolio boasts a roster of over 100 apps, including Proxy Browser (for beleaguered students and professionals unable to access most of the Internet), Air Call Answer (which allows call answering through gestures) and Status Via (lets users edit the name of the device they are posting from). Another project they are working on is TuneIndia.org, a platform that lets online radio broadcasters get their own Android apps. “We have developed a simple website where online radio service providers can make a request for an app along with their logo and relevant details, and we create and publish the app. This way they get the branding and publicity reach for free, with our only requirement being that the apps be ad-supported. We also offer a paid ad-free version for those who want it,” says Navaneeth.
Looking ahead, the Mobio duo has grand plans, starting with acquiring premises and building a full-time team. They are planning on expanding TuneIndia services to broadcast radio stations and developing their own push notification service that individual developers can make use of. “There are major infrastructural challenges ahead but we are in a good position at the moment, as we currently make around $200 a day from our apps. One challenge is that there are very few skilled engineering graduates who can work in this field, as a lot of what we do is not covered in any syllabus,” says Mohammed.
It is early days yet for the app development scene in the State, but enterprising developers have put the State on the highway to widespread recognition. And with a bustling app catalogue in a variety of different sections, Mobio is definitely on the fast lane.