Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Red Herring coverage on Indian Mobile Gaming

Red Herring wrote some good observations on Indian Mobile Gaming industry at "The Games Indians Play" (dated 24th April 2006):

On the subcontinent, they’re either dreaming up games for cell phones or devouring them.

A game based on India’s first full-length animated feature film, Hanuman, clocked between 20,000 and 30,000 downloads a month for over six months now. There’s a reason for all this madness: a recent survey by Pyramid Research showed that nearly a third of cell phone users in India play games on their mobiles, and gamers are showing a growing preference for local content.

“Game downloads are increasing 400 percent year on year.” … there are currently 600,000 game downloads a month.

Short messaging service (SMS) tends to dwarf all comers in the value-added services, accounting for 80 percent of India’s VAS market. Next comes ring tone downloads, followed by games. Alok Shende, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, reckons a 6 to 8 percent VAS share for games is about the norm.
It’s a nice story so far, but Pyramid analyst Nick Holland points out that there are obstacles to growth: a third of Indian mobile users, for instance, remain cut off from serious gaming for lack of decent handsets like Java-enabled phones that support games.
The biggest hit so far has been Sholay, based on the blockbuster Bollywood movie of the same title. Rajiv Hiranandani, CEO of Mobile2Win, the company that created the game, reports over 1 million downloads.
Dhruva’s Mr. Rao finds that most Indians game casually, to pass the time while waiting in queues or while commuting. So, the games are designed to be entertaining and are priced low: between a dollar or two per game. As India’s wireless population grows by 4 million subscribers every month, industry players will benefit by having a new revenue stream and channel for selling their entertainment content, says Deepak Kapoor, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers’ Indian entertainment & media practice leader. Since competition has sliced talk-time rates to about two cents a minute, revenues from gaming should make up for any losses incurred on voice calls, he says.

Tags: mobile, software, smartphone, gaming


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