What's Your Medal Tally? – Behind the Scenes of myPicks

The Beijing Olympics is going full swing, and we sports enthusiasts love being in the thick of action, right? You’ll probably be interested to know that you can be an Olympics participant as well. No kidding! Before you think it’s too true, let me clarify; it’s the Virtual Olympics game on Facebook. You get to represent your country by predicting the real Olympic winners for various events.

This game is developed by Pramati Technologies, the leading product development company, based in Hyderabad. Here’s what I found out from Pramati’s Co-founder & CTO Vijay Prasanna Pullur.

RS: Congratulations on the new Facebook game release. Can you tell us what is this application?

VP: myPicks Beijing 2008, allows participants to pick Beijing Olympics Gold, Silver and Bronze winners for each event. First time when you add the game to your Facebook profile, you choose the country you want to play for. You win points for each correct prediction, these points gets added to the country your are playing for. At the conclusion of the Olympics, the country with the highest point total will be declared the winner of the “myPicks Beijing 2008”. It is a fun social game to play with friends and other fellow countrymen while you are plugged into the real Olympics events.

RS: How did you come up with this idea?

VP: myPicks Beijing 2008 was developed by Pramati Technologies in collaboration with Sun Microsystems.

Sun’s Zembly platform is the world’s first social programming environment specifically designed for creating and hosting social applications targeting the most popular platforms on the web, including Facebook, Meebo, OpenSocial, the iPhone and more.

The idea behind this game was to showcase Zembly and Pramati’s social application development capability.
RS: How long it took to develop the game and what were some of the challenges?

VP: This is a good question. We started this project about 8 weeks ago. There were 2 major challenges
1. Olympics game has a hard cut-off, no scope for any slip. So we had to build the spec, develop, test and launch the game in this short period.
2. The game has to scale, as the viral effect will start kicking-in any social game. We have tested this game for 300,000 simultaneous users in this short time.

RS: Can I see how others are performing in predicting?

VP: Yes. We have created a Leader board, where you can see:
1. Ranking by country
2. Ranking by individuals across countries
3. Ranking of players playing for your country
4. Ranking among my Facebook friends

RS: Do you think India has a fair chance of winning in the Virtual Olympics <smiling>?

VP: Yes. While we aren’t sure about India’s chances of winning the actual Beijing Olympics, the Virtual Olympics will definitely give India a chance to win. More participants from a country, better are the chances for the country winning this Facebook game.

RS: How many have registered with myPicks Beijing 2008 so far?

VP: It is just 4 days into the game and we have seen the users double each day. I think it is around 3000 active users today.

RS: How can anyone spread the word?

VP: You can click on ‘Invite Friends’ tab in the game and include up to 40 from your Facebook contact list.

We have also created fan pages for all countries http://olympics.socialtwist.com. You can choose the country from the drop down and tell other friends to play for your country.