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India Gaming Summit 2007: ‘Gaming still nascent in India, but future looks promising’

29-November-2007
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India Gaming Summit 2007: ‘Gaming still nascent in India, but future looks promising’

The first ever India Gaming Summit on November 28 in Mumbai brought together Indian and international stalwarts to discuss the dynamics of booming gaming industry in India. The Summit was organised by Zapak Digital Entertainment Ltd, and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

Eminent speakers like David Christensen of Sony Online Entertainment, USA; Desmond Lu Guanghang of Shanda Entertainment, China; and Mohit Anand of Microsoft India, among others. Topics discussed at the summit were ‘Overview of Gaming Industry – the India’s position’, ‘The value chain of the gaming industry’, ‘Understanding the Gamer’ and ‘Advertising potential in gaming – using gaming to promote brands and message’. The topics elaborated the past, discussed the on-going trends and explored the future trends in gaming.

Rohit Sharma, COO, Zapak Digital Entertainment, said, “Though India is still in its nascent stage in gaming, there is no doubt that there is massive potential for growth in the industry. We wanted to create a platform that views the industry more historically.” Rajesh Sawhney, President, Reliance Entertainment, said that if the gaming industry was to kick off, it had to be available across all platforms including mobile, which had great future. Commenting on the challenges for the industry, he said, “Broadband is lagging behind in India, and this is a worry for all players in the industry. Another challenge is to create relevant content for the right kind of people with the right ambient culture. But the biggest challenge is to zero down on a business model which is most appropriate to the kind of game and target audience.”

Further discussing the business models, Venkat Malik of Level Up! India pointed that it was the item sales model which was likely to succeed in future, rather than the traditional subscription model. He said, “Primarily, the gaming industry is split into PC, console and handheld. The video game market is worth $ 34 million, and I think India is in a cusp of what could be a fantastic market after about five years.” Malik further pointed that a regular enthusiastic gamer spent around two-four hours a day, and that it was a challenge for gaming companies to target these enthusiasts while providing them a rich gaming experience that they always looked out for.

John McClure of Intel India said that the time spent on the Internet for the casual game category was constantly increasing since the games were free, backed by advertising. He also said that the emerging café culture was an opportunity for effective distribution and getting connected to the youth. Subrotah Biswas of Logitech emphasised on creating a virtual world for gamers, and gave several examples of how his company manufactured computers and gaming related equipments in a style that matched the games. Commenting on what the industry should focus on, Biswas said, “We need to create gaming communities for our gamers, give them exciting experiences, and then get them into the buying zone. This is the only way we can bring a revolution in the gaming industry.”

While the speakers addressed various challenges and opportunities, piracy continued to be a significant issue of discussion. Speakers concluded that enforcement with the government; reasonable pricing, minimising developmental costs and moving towards online gaming models were the only options available to curb piracy of gaming in India.

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