According to a recent market report conducted by IAMAI and IMRB, there exists a grey market in India, wherein almost 70-80 per cent of games are pirated thus, severely impacting the growth of gaming in India. The report further states that the Internet is the driving force for the gaming market in India. Gamers are said to constitute 41.2 per cent of the total active Internet users in India, which is a whopping 89 per cent increase from 2007.
It is estimated that 40-50 per cent of the market would be grey and pirated. In conversation with exchange4media, Alok Kejriwal, Founder and CEO, Games2win.com, said, “I believe that piracy is good for the gaming industry, this is because it shows that there is a lot of appetite to consume games in the country but not to pay for it. Consumers like to play games and it is the new way in which digital content is consumed. However, I would say, consumers do not pay for it and not because they cannot afford to pay. A lot of these game companies are in denial mode, they want us to believe that digital content should be paid for. Consumers today, who are the Internet generation, are used to getting content for free, and if consumers are told to pay for what they are used to getting free, then one is fighting a losing battle.”
He further explained, “The brands/ games that are being copied today are becoming popular - Need for Speed, FIFA, etc. What these companies should do is make these games free anyways and charge consumers for online upgrade. The world wants free entertainment and you cannot fight that. I would strongly suggest that they study or find out why people are not ready to pay or why are these games getting copied. The future of gaming is online and in online it’s free, the way to collect money in games is via micro payments.”
Rohit Sharma, COO Zapak Digital Entertainment Ltd observed, “Piracy has a strong impact on the gaming industry, it is a huge loss for console and PC games, whereas online or mobile gaming businesses are not much impacted. Some of the ways to counter this problem is to get the prices of software down so that piracy does not happen. For instance, Zapak has launched gaming CDs priced at as low as Rs 99 and Rs 49 in order to discourage people from buying the pirated versions. The other way is stricter Government controls to curb piracy.”
The IAMAI report also highlights that 80 per cent of active gamers like gaming for its socialising aspect. The gamer is quite inclined towards team games and games that allow customisation of characters. The report also estimates that by 2010, the revenues would be generated from console gaming (Rs 5,750 million), mobile (Rs 8,125 million) and online and offline together, which will constitute 24 per cent of the total gaming market.