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Mobile phone gaming spreading like wildfire

03-April-2004
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Mobile phone gaming spreading like wildfire

Mobile gaming is emerging as the fastest growing application in the cellular telephony industry. It has grown 50 times — in usage — in a single year.

No wonder, then, that several mobile service providers are cashing on its popularity. Hutchison Max Telecom is offering 250 Java-based mobile games on its network, while Reliance Infocomm has added several gaming applications to its R World and even offers multiple players facility.

Both companies have entered into an alliance with gaming companies in order to offer more to customers.

Hutch has entered into a development alliance with Mauj, India Games and Mobile2Win, while about 10 companies have signed up with Reliance Inocomm through Dhirubhai Ambani Developers Prog- amme (DADP) for providing Java gaming applications on R World, the Reliance platform. There are more than 100 games on the Reliance network, according to senior executives of Reliance Infocomm.

The revenue generation from the mobile gaming market can be spectacular. In east Asia, mobile gaming has generated $827 million in revenues while US wireless gaming revenues touched $436.4 million in 2001, industry sources claim.

By 2006, wireless gaming is expected to be several billion dollars in annual revenue worldwide.

Harit Nagpal, vice-president, corporate marketing, Hutch said: “Humans and games have had a relationship from times immemorial. Why should it be any different when it comes to mobile phones? Gaming is one of the fastest growing mobile applications today. We have seen this trend internationally, and we are witnessing it now in India.”

On an average 1,20,000 mobile games are downloaded every month by Hutch users. This is a phenomenal 50 fold increase from an average of 2,200 mobile game downloads in February last year. This growth is expected to increase further with increasing penetration of GPRS handsets and applications, Nagpal pointed out.

Elaborating on the alliance between Hutch and game development companies, Nagpal said: “Hutch holds over 75 per cent of the downloadable mobile gaming market in India today. While most of the mobile games currently have been internationally developed, Indian gaming developers are working on games with Indian themes. We are working closely with leading gaming developers, like Mauj, India Games & Mobile2Win, to create mobile games exclusively for Hutch users.”

The company offers over 250 mobile games to its users and is adding two new games to its existing portfolio daily. It is also launching an exclusive Rahul Dravid cricket game which will be available to Hutch users only.

While Reliance Infocomm is offering games free till June 30, Hutch users can download any of the 250 mobile games using the Hutch GPRS service, for a price of Rs 50 and premium games for a price of Rs 99 per download.

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