While ecommerce has been evangelising the burgeoning trust of consumers and investors, over the past one year, there has been a boisterous atmosphere around digital gaming industry in India. In last few months the stakeholders of digital gaming arena have been speculating that the industry would be a billion dollar industry. Harping more about the status quo and future projection, iamwire has interacted with Robin Alter, CEO & co- founder Kreeda games. Talking more about the industry, Alter pointed out that there have been so many variable estimates about the industry’s market size, let’s just say, that it is small now and expected to be over $1 billion industry in the next three years. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
Recently digital gaming industry speculated to the fact that it is going to be a billion dollar industry. To what extent you believe in this projection?
The projection seems reasonable considering the internet growth rates and massive mobile penetration. Once people get connected, and after the curiosity of social networks and news & entertainment sites has been satisfied, they seek more immersive entertainment. This will mean a large demand for games.
People in India are splurging a lot for entertainment through various mediums like television, cinema, and videos. However gaming has not caught up well with the masses, so what are the reasons for failure in captivating Indian gamers so far?
There has not been a single game that has connected on a deeper level with consumers. The gaming industry needs to create content that will be more relevant to India tastes, and this content cannot compromise in quality in comparison to other games available in the world. Access to games has of course been a hurdle, but when there is strong demand, these access challenges usually get addressed as business looks to cater to consumers desires.
Some of the gaming thought leaders feel that gaming revolution in India is yet to take off. What is your take on this?
It is coming, I believe within the next 2 years, with inexpensive SmartPhones and high-speed internet access, mobile will drive this revolution. Also considering that the Indian consumer is very socially networked in their everyday lives and because the majority of the population is under the age of 30, there is a clear opportunity for games, and particularly social gaming, which is one of the fastest growth areas in the gaming segment.
Globally India is counted as a conducive offshore digital gaming development platform and Kreeda games works for client based in US and UK. So do kreeda games concentrate only on offshore market for revenue?
We are working with clients in North America, Europe, Asia Pascific (APAC) and India. Indian companies are increasing more interested in building connected games to reach consumers or to drive additional revenues. So although most of our business is coming from abroad, there are more requests coming now from Indian companies.
How online and mobile based gaming can be monetized in India? What are the challenges in monetizing?
The biggest challenge in monetization is the collection. There are still very few credit card and bank debit transactions, pre-paid cards and mobile payments mechanisms are not easily accessible. Telcos expect to keep the majority of any revenue which they bill as part of their packages. So collection will need to be resolved.
Do you think limited funding is one of the major reasons for very gradual progression of gaming industry in India?
There is a lot of funding available now in India. However, the investors seem more risk adverse than in Silicon Alley and they looking for concrete revenue streams and profits now. The alternative would be to invest in larger opportunities that hold the promise of large returns over a 3 year horizon. Risks can be mitigated by following the proven models in other gaming markets and by building the capacity to take many shots on goal.
Also, I think gaming companies need to learn how to make themselves more attractive to investors. A good investment is not about the last game you have made or how many hits it got. You must show a track record of success and failures, high-quality delivery, and a positive evolution of your company profile. To say you are a social game development company, you need to be more than a developer. It requires an understanding of operations, data analytics, user profiling and much more. To summarize, Indian gaming companies need to tell a better story about their progress and show that they understand the challenges in the market and then explain how they will address them.
Which gaming model you are working on for Indian market presently and to what extent local (Indian) stakes (drivers like social, behavioural pattern, gaming culture) matter in developing game for niche market like India?
We are designing and developing social games for International Markets as well as for India. Each game is targeted for a very tight demographics and draws in a broader audience with complementary gameplay. Games that will work in India in a bigger way will need to be localized to address cultural differences and tastes across the country and to reach a mass market, the interfaces will need to be more simplified (to me more symbolic over linguistic). I believe gaming in India will be very social and largely via the mobile.
According to you presently what is the market size of overall gaming industry in India?
I have heard so many different estimates, let’s just say, that it is small now and expected to be over $billion in the next 3 years.