Home > tech-news > news > Potatolive gamifies Tamil Nadu polls by launching online game ‘234 seats’

Bengaluru: With elections around the corner, the race for political supremacy is at its peak in Tamil Nadu, and almost everyone, from academicians and writers to the grocer and the newspaper vendor to your friendly (or not) neighbour has become a soothsayer of sorts.

Chennai-based tech start-up Potatolive’s (“Potato, because we are Couch Potatoes," said co-founder Santhosh K.R. Subramanian) new online game 234 seats, which was launched on 4 May this year, taps this speculative mood. “234 seats is like a regular sports fantasy league but for TN elections. A contestant will get to pick real candidates and field them in different constituencies," said Subramanian.

The winner will be chosen based on the actual outcome of the Tamil Nadu assembly elections and will walk away with a cash prize and the satisfaction that her prediction was correct.

According to Subramanian, too many times people go to vote but end up choosing the NOTA (none of the above) option because they don’t know enough about the candidate in their constituency, “It is not that they aren’t educated or don’t have access to information... They just need to spend some effort getting to know the candidate better," he said, adding that this is a great way for people to take some more interest in the election process.

People who play this game will, for sure “notice the different candidates, understand their background and make an informed decision when they vote—there is always interest generated when things are gamified," he added.

Fantasy league games, also called rotisserie or roto, are online games where participants assemble virtual teams of a real player (generally sports, but it has even happened at the Oscars) and compete based on actual statistical performance of the player.

234 seats works on a similar concept: there are 10 mandatory “star" constituencies and 5 constituencies that the user can pick themselves, “After selecting the winning candidates in all the 15 constituencies, they will also predict the vote margins which they will garner in their respective constituencies. The end goal of the player is to smartly pick a winning team and predict the results as close as possible to the actual," said Subramanian.

According to Jabez Eliezer, one of the developers, “The technology used to develop the game is simple yet novel and the whole set-up is in cloud for easy scale-up." 301 people have tried out the game so far, he said.

Hima Angula is one of them, “I really enjoyed playing the game because I follow politics very closely," he said, “You need to be really clued into local issues to play."

The actual election results will be announced on 19 May and then, “a winner will be chosen based on how close they are in terms of the actual results," said Subramanian. “After the results are announced, for every constituency, the algorithm allocates scores to people who have correctly predicted the winner and based on how close they were to the actual result, they will win," he added.

It is actually not as challenging as it looks, said Subramanian. “Even if you do a little bit of research on a few popular constituencies, their manifestos and have a look at how much percentage of votes a winning candidate gets, you should be able to predict how much the respective candidates can get," he said.

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