Gaming is the next big game for marketers. AC Nielson has forecast the size of opportunity for Indian players in the global gaming market at $50 million in 2005. Of this, the size of the console gaming segment has been forecasted at $35 million and that of games that use PCs as the platform is pegged at $15 million. Video and computer games have traditionally been two main segments. In the video game segment, the game console products are all based on proprietary standards.
Sub-segments of the gaming market are commonly expressed in terms of their access platform. The main sub-segments include video console games, computer games, wireless/mobile phones and devices, and Internet-based games. A relatively new segment that is being explored is Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG), which has been a highly successful business model in Asia.
On the size of mobile gaming market in India, Sachin Naik, Business Director, Milestone Interactive, the leading distribution and licensing games company in India, said, “According to our study, the legitimate market will be worth around 8 to 9 million dollars and this is only PCs. The market for consoles will be half of that. For mobile gaming market, there aren't really up-to-date figures because there have been many changes recently. Moreover, the number of downloads may not necessarily translate into revenue. The number of downloads are really high but the revenue generated would be close to Rs 20 crore.”
A lot is brewing in this segment. Let’s give you a sneak peek into what all can you expect from the booming gaming business.
Bollywood to add masala to games
Animation experts believe that Bollywood will add more masala to the gaming platform. Most claim that the day is not far when good gaming scripts would be evolved around filmstars. But what would consumers, who pay to download games, prefer, Spiderman or Shah Rukh Khan? Naik said, "Consumers would go for games that are aspirational. Being a Shah Rukh Khan may be an aspiration for some but not so for others. In other words, there would be consumers for both a Spiderman game and a Shah Rukh Khan game. At the end of the day, what matters is the quality of the game and the character on which the story is based."
Anurag Khurana, CEO, Paradox Studios, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Infocomm, said, "The gaming community is conscious about the fact that Bollywood-based gaming can really be a driving factor and a lot of interactions are happening towards that front. It is a market in itself which can be explored."
Most gaming gurus believe that Indian people are willing to pay more for premium games. Vishal Gondal, Director, Indiagames, said, “It’s like going to a theatre. You are ready to pay for the experience provided the product is good. Similarly in India, people are willing to pay more for branded games like Spiderman and Bruce Lee.” In fact there are only a handful of premium games available in the market but it sells like hot cakes, he adds.
Wireless gaming, a rapidly growing sub-segment, is believed to be the next largest segment after video games segment, said experts. The size of the wireless/mobile gaming market is linked with the installed base of mobile phone handsets. The market size of the mobile games in India has been estimated at $3 million in 2004. The estimation is based on the total number of downloads of games during the period, as downloads currently account for 90 per cent of the way games for cellular mobile players — Orange, Airtel, Idea and BPL.