The fantasy sports scene is heating up in India and every few days, you see a new app show up on the app store. Through our experience of reviewing fantasy apps, we have come to a realization that there are predominantly three types of fantasy apps in the Indian market –
The Best of the best – These are the apps that are must-haves on your smartphone if you are an avid fantasy player. You may download one, or more depending on your preference.
They do what it says on the tin – These are the apps that bring nothing special to the table, but whatever it does, it does without a problem. These apps are also dependable, and you can use these apps to enjoy some no-nonsense fantasy gameplay.
One to avoid – These are the apps that you must avoid installing at all costs. These are the apps that have been made with the intention to earn money. The UI is poor, the features are nonresponsive at times, and the bugs are strewn all over the platform.
We have been scouring through the app store for fantasy cricket apps and one of the recent ones that we encountered was Paytm First fantasy. Paytm is the market leader when it comes to the digital payments scene in India and they have immense credibility, something that allows Paytm First to be trusted among the community. But does the app deliver an immersive fantasy experience? Let’s find out. But first, let’s take a look at what Fantasy Sports is all about.
What are Fantasy Sports?
If you are someone who has played the popular Fantasy Premier League before, you will have a good idea about what Fantasy Sports really is. But, if you are one of the uninitiated, this is how it works. Say you are playing a football/soccer fantasy league, you will build your own team comprised of 11 players and a few substitutes, and then through the course of the season, the players in your fantasy team will earn points for their performances in every game they play, and the fantasy team with the largest haul of points at the end of the season wins the Fantasy league. But, like any other competition, there are always some rules that govern how you can pick your team and how the scores are distributed based on performance.
Some people call this a game of pure luck, while repeat players will argue that there is an element of knowledge you need, in order to really field a winning fantasy team.
Fantasy leagues have expanded to the most popular sports around the world, and each of these fantasy leagues draws in thousands of users who are all out to be the best of the rest.
Joining a Fantasy sports league platform is free and involves a simple sign-up procedure and an optional installation of a companion app on your smartphone. However, the catch is that participating in some of the contests within the Fantasy league may be charged by the platform, therefore making the whole Fantasy Sports genre, a freemium one.
At Techplugged, we have indulged in some of the Fantasy leagues through the years, including the fantasy leagues for the Premier League, Formula One, NBA, and even the recently concluded UEFA Euro Championship, and although we have found it difficult to win these leagues, the overall experience has been fun as we have not really spent a single penny to participate.
Now, with the basics cleared, let’s get into the Paytm First Fantasy App.
The Paytm First fantasy platform
Paytm First fantasy is a fantasy sports platform that is based on the freemium model. In such a model, signing up is free, while participation in fantasy matches requires real-time money. What we have noticed is that most of the freemium fantasy apps are not allowed to be distributed on the Google Play Store, and unfortunately, that seems to be the case with Paytm First as well. You can sideload the app on your Android device if you want as that is the only way you can participate in this app if you are an Android user. Apple App Store users can simply download the app from the default app store as there are no restrictions on Fantasy app on there.
Paytm First fantasy allows players to participate in fantasy matches taking place in the world of cricket, kabaddi, and football. We have seen apps that offer fantasy matches across all major sports in the world, and it sort of takes away from the novelty of the platform, but in the case of Paytm First fantasy, the number of sports is just right and we are happy to see this kind of focused approach from the developers.
The Paytm First Fantasy app
Let’s talk about the Paytm First fantasy app and how you can get started on the same.
On installing the app on your Android or iOS device, tap on the app icon to open it up. After a brief splash screen featuring the title of the app and images of the ambassadors, you will be taken to a signup screen. This part is typical across all fantasy sports apps that we have tested so far.
The Sign up screen allows you to create an account using your mobile number or your Paytm account. We decided to proceed with the mobile number method as it is something that most new users will be choosing to do once they get started. Once you enter your mobile number, you will be asked to enter the unique OTP that is almost immediately delivered to your registered mobile number.
Once the OTP is entered, you will be taken to a small data entry scene where you can enter the name of your team, your email id, State of residence and date of birth. Now, in order to play games on the Paytm First fantasy app, you have to be over 18 years of age and not a resident of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Odisha, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Telangana. These exempted states do not promote the fantasy apps and as such, have banned the app from working in their jurisdiction.
Once you enter the details, the next screen will tell you to choose what you want to play on the Paytm First Fantasy app. You can play Fantasy sports, Online Rummy, Callbreak and Online Poker. All of these games involve real time money and you must keep that in mind before making your choice. Since we are only interested in Fantasy Sports, we picked the Fantasy option.
The home screen of the Paytm First fantasy app is pretty much the same as almost all the other fantasy sports app in the Indian market. Let’s take a look at this one, from the top.
On the left hand side of the home page, you have the in-app menu button that allows you to access your profile, and even get your account verified. Next to that, we have the in-app wallet that lets you perform transactions such as adding currency, withdrawing your winnings and more. Keep in mind that if you reside in a location where this app has been banned by the government, you will not be able to access the app at all.
Next we have the Main game screen in the middle of the top menu bar and the bottom control tabs. This main screen will show you the various sports available to you, in a carousel arrangement, and below each tab, you will see the ongoing and upcoming matches so that you can choose the ones you want and get started with the fantasy gameplay.
How to participate in Fantasy matchups on Paytm First fantasy
Since we are cricket buffs, we decided to try our hand at one of the upcoming cricket matches. Surprisingly, participating in a fantasy matchup is simple, but before we get into it, let’s take a look at what a matchup card looks like on Paytm First fantasy.
Heading to the cricket tab on the home page, we saw a lot of upcoming cricket matches, and the match card consists of the following information –
The teams that are playing
The cricket league that the match is a part of
The line-up update (Whether line-ups are out or not) It is best to set up your line-up after the line-up has been announced as it allows you to pick the players that are playing, rather than guessing the line-up beforehand.
Time to go before the match begins
Size of the prize pot (This shows the largest prize pot)
From here, you can see the list of matches, and if there is a match that you feel you can do great at, tap on it, and you will be taken to a fresh page where you will now see a list of different prizes pots under various categories.
We have the Mega contest that features the largest prize pot and also allows a great percentage of entries to win a share of the prize pot. The entry fee to this is very cheap and your odds of winning are actually realistic. We recommend that you start off with the Mega contest first.
We also have the classic head to head matches where you take on another user in a winner takes all contest. the entry fee is pre decided by the app and you have to front half of it and the winner walks away with the whole prize pot.
Practise matches allow you to participate in fantasy matches without really putting up any money. Here, you can pick the lineup and see how the team does in a real time setting. However, there is no prize money to be won.
You will also see an assortment of tailored match-ups with varying entry fees and stipulations and you can choose the one that appeals most to you, with no pressure.
Once you choose the match-up you like, you will be taken to a team selection screen, where you can pick the players according to the guideline and once you submit the team and pay the entry fee, the waiting game begins.
Once the match is over, you can check up on your team, and see how they have done. If your team of players did well and they have slotted into the winning percentage of teams that are eligible for a payday, you will be given the pre-decided amount into your wallet. You can then withdraw funds from the wallet into your bank and then decide your next match-up.
The overall experience of the Paytm First Fantasy has been smooth and the fact that you cannot really cheat your way into playing it from a banned location makes the platform seem more legit. The interface is pretty smooth and we didn’t really experience any sort of lag or glitch when we participated.
When it comes to fantasy apps, it looks like Paytm studied what works and put it all together in one app. The interface is very consistent with their other digital payment platform and that is good in the sense that you will not find yourself fumbling for control. However, is it good enough to make you switch to it full time. Well not exactly. The user base on the Paytm First platform is not as extensive as some of the more settled players in the game and it will take something really special from Paytm to make people to shift to their platform.