Mobile gaming market in India: opportunities, monetization challenges and solutions

mobile-gaming-2With rise of mobile app market in India, mobile gaming is now one of the sectors coming under limelight of global and local mobile game developers and distributors. The Indian gaming app market has also seen popularity of a few International game studio products such as Angry birds (Rovio), Candy Crush (King), Clash of Clans(Supercell) and so on.

According to a forecast by Gartner, mobile games are the fastest-growing segment in the global markets, with revenue set to nearly double between 2013 and 2015 from USD 13.2 Bn to USD 22 Bn. A few months back, the research company KPMG-FICCI has also predicted that from the current INR 560 crore, the mobile gaming segment size will become more than triple to INR 1,800 crore by 2017.

Opportunities offered for global mobile game developers

The mobile gaming market has become quite saturated globally especially in US. With recent laying off of workforce by global players like Zynga, Electronic arts, Tapjoy etc, it is clear that companies abroad are having a tough time.

However, as per the recent research, in India, out of 100 mobile subscribers, only 2 are mobile gamers, which is much less than the mobile gamer penetration in Japan, the US, South Korea, and the UK. Thus, indicating a wide opportunity available for mobile gaming companies in India.

Further, with 110 Mn mobile internet user base, cheap 3G plans, affordable smartphones and highly untouched T2 & T3 markets, Indian mobile gaming industry offers enormous scope for development and is attracting a lot of global players.

The game developers are also forming alliances with app stores such as Google Play, Samsung Apps and Nokia’s Ovi, to reach masses and to build a brand of their own.

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Monetization challenges and solutions offered

India being a money savvy society, people here are still reluctant to pay for mobile games and even downloading large file-sized games despite of cheap gaming rates and mobile internet plans. Monetization is thus a big issue for both the local and global mobile game developers entering the Indian market.

Also, apart from monetization, there is a lack of platforms to reach and attract masses, even for good quality games. Many have survived but also many game developers have to shrink or even close their operations such as Gameloft and 7Seas Entertainment which shut their Indian and U.S. operations respectively.

The existing model of selling through CDs and DVDs has become largely outdated and models like In-app monetization and advertising have taken its place. Developers are also exploring “Freemium model”, wherein the users can decide whether to buy a game or not after playing its trial version for free. “Considering the price sensitive market as India, the freemium  model seems quite apt”, said Disney UTV’s chief operations officer Sameer Ganapathy.

Existing players in India

The global gaming brand of company, Reliance BIG Entertainment is one of the biggest game developers in India and has crossed 100 Mn game downloads over its 350 games on Nokia Store. Apart from India, the company is also active in markets of Japan and Korea and has a total of around 600 games in its portfolio.

Reliance Entertainment Digital, parent company of Indian gaming brand zapak, will soon be bringing International mobile based games in India, said Manish Agarwal, CEO, also pointing out that company can help startups expand to the promising Indian gaming market, in an interview with TechInAsia.

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As per Manish, the company is currently having a portfolio of 70% paid games and 30% freemium games. However, they are planning the freemium ratio to become 100% in the coming years.

Apart from Reliance games, players like Games2win, Bash Gaming (creator of popular game Bingo Bash), Jumpstart, Csharks Games(based in Kerala) are having a great foothold in the present mobile gaming scenario in India.

Though as a result of natural evolution and technology adoptions, there are volumes of teens and youths adopting to the mobile games as entertainment medium. Also rise of Android as leading player in India provide developers a consistent platform to experiment their ideas, thus making sure to expect some positive trends in the coming future.

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