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Mobile Gaming comes of age in India, popular titles going big-hit

13-September-2004
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Mobile Gaming comes of age in India, popular titles going big-hit

Imagine dancing with the character played by Om Puri in the latest Bollywood film 'King of Bolloywood' or three Om Puris fighting amongst themselves to prove their might - everything comes true as Mobile entertainment fast catches up with the imagination.

The true growth of the mobile gaming industry has taken place fairly recently - mainly on account of better performance of mobile devices. In late 2003, Nokia entered as the first mover into an entirely new market of mobile gaming devices with its 'N-Gage' platform. The value chain of the industry is still taking its form and the most successful business cases in mobile gaming have appeared outside the traditional value distribution channels.

Indiagames, one of the leading mobile game developers, has recently got the license for 'King of Bollywood'. Said Vishal Gondal, CEO, Indiagames, "The global market potential for interactive entertainment is huge and is estimated to reach up to a scale of $ 7 billion by 2007."

On the growing popularity of mobile gaming in India, Gautam Advani, Multimedia Business Director, Nokia, said: "Today, a mobile phone has evolved from a being a communication tool to emerge as a multifunctional device with multiple businesses, lifestyle and imaging capabilities. Keeping this in mind, we initiated 'N-Gage QD Challenge Mobile Gaming Championship'. With this championship, Nokia plans to provide Indian youth a platform to utilise their gaming skills."

"To promote the game, we have distribution partnership with telecommunication majors like Airtel, BPL, Hutch and Tata," informed Gondal, while dwelling on the strategies to promote mobile gaming in India. According to him, legitimate downloading rate of mobile games in India currently stands at 200 to 300 thousand per month.

Reflecting his marketing strategy for the Indian market, he said, "Although India is just 10 per cent of our business, we see a huge interest in strategy games across different age groups. But action, sports and role-play are also a great draw. We have acquired the license for Spiderman. In continuing our strategy, we have now acquired worldwide rights to properties like 'The Day After Tomorrow', 'Garfield', 'Buffy' and recently, Bruce Lee. Products like Spiderman and Bruce Lee which have extremely global fan-following is what Indiagames takes to the market and very easily finds millions of customers nationally and internationally, thanks to the product quality and extensive branding."

Leaving a word of caution, he mentioned, "The biggest threat to the industry is the piracy and fragmented players. A formal structure is required and a professional attitude is a prerequisite for the success."

However, the emergence of mobile gaming is already under way but the revenue flows and value distribution still offer possibilities for diversification and newer business models. The market reaction shows that good titles will be successful regardless of the media that is required to play them. The N-Gage business model enables the creation of a successful community-based service but is the critical mass of customers for such services gain huge success - the question remains.

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