There are those who can't wait for the next version of the X-Box and there are those who have not risen above the sedate 'Solitare' fare. But there is no denying the fact that the numbers of serious gamers are going up by the day. The Indian gaming market is expected to touch $50 million (mobile gaming not included) by the end of this year, which is a huge opportunity for publishers to develop localised content.
Said, Quentin Staes-Polet, Director, Digital Media, Asia Pacific, IBM Business Consulting Services, " In India, the gaming industry is growing at an explosive rate. The country has the potential to become a major hub for outsourcing computer games. The growth of online games is driving the bandwidth growth globally. However, there are a few hitches and one of the major issues is that of billing, and this can be done through mobile, prepaid card and so on. Billing is extremely critical for the industry to succeed and once this is solved, all other things will fall in place."
In India, the gaming market is estimated to be $4 million for original games and $40 million for pirated ones. Indeed, a huge loss of revenue for the publishers.
Joey G Alarilla, President of Asian Gaming Journalists Association, said that certain steps were being taken to curb piracy. "We are encouraging gamers to patronise original games. Publishers also need to lower price points as in most emerging markets; purchasing power is a major factor. Then there are issue of IPR, which needs to be enforced. In India piracy is a major issue as it is the world over," he asserted.
Though Alok Kejriwal, CEO, Contest2Win, predicted that in the next five to seven years India would have some 30-35 million gamers, and this growth would be driven by broadband. He displayed his scepticism by saying that there was a dilemma among Indians when it came to gaming, it was just like eating chocolates, where chocolates were still considered to be for kids only. Similarly, playing games were still considered to be for kids and thus, there was very less public appreciation of the fact that gaming was indeed a serious business, he observed.
"Though Indian players have a low presence in computer games development market, due to the fact that we are the late entrants, however, players like Milestone Interactive Software and Gayatri are more than making their names in the global market. With rapidly expanding base of potential players in accordance with the rising number of mobile users and broadband connectivity in the country, we will see more serious gamers round the rounds," Kejriwal added.