“Casual games to be sold as a services”

By : |November 30, 2006 0

What is the future of the online gaming industry in the coming years?

There are more than 18 million gamers in the country who regularly play casual games (95 per cent pirated) played on PC’s at home, institutions and in cyber cafés. The number of regular online gamers accessing free gaming sites is more than 24 per cent of the current online youth population approximately seven million plus who play single player games whereas only a fraction currently play multiplayer games and that too only on international sites – interesting twist is that the multiplayer gaming enthusiasts are growing in numbers and hence our new offering “Gaming Hungama,” which is India’s first multiplayer gaming portal.

The mobile gaming industry is really growing rapidly and with the penetration of GPRS enabled phones increasing in the country and a huge replacement market for handsets its likely to grow form the current Rs 45 crore plus market expected to increase exponentially in the next four years.

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Future is about delivering all to the multitasking generation, and need to work on expanding the gaming audience, especially in taking the gaming experience to women also, as the future belongs to the casual gamers.

Another aspect is about user-generated content, whereby developers will be encouraged to create a controlled environment backed by an economic universe where the developer and user application is either paid for or adds to the game experience.

Where is the online gaming market heading in India?

Console gaming has recently taken off with the mall culture supporting the same, as it is a capital intensive business with a gestation period of above 3+ years, though according to our internal estimates has enormous potential of growth especially in the tier II towns and cities.

Single player online market is a fast growing market supported by increasing Internet penetration and consistent bandwidth availability to support rich media games and applications. Currently, only advertising supports the online gaming market.

We are the only company who has made serious investments in multiplayer online gaming creating Indian games suited to our sensibilities and within a year we will have more than 60+ multiplayer games and we already have more than 300 single player games.

[image_library_tag 717/17717, width=”225″ vspace=”1″ hspace=”1″ height=”257″ border=”1″ align=”left” alt=”Preeti Desai, COO, Hungama Digital Business” ,default]What are the demographics of the users and trends in online gaming industry, according to Hungama gaming, and what is the targeted segment?

Hungama has been a trendsetter in the online and mobile gaming business and below are the trends that we will set in the next three quarters. We would introduce community building features, which would be available online as well as on mobile, which is an important gaming initiative for us.

Secondly, casual games will be sold as a service rather than as products – introducing full-featured international casual games to the Indian market that are free-to-play till a certain level – will focus on both single and multiplayer and community features, and will generate revenues through annual subscription or pay per level sales.

We would also build multiplayer indigenous games to support the fast growing gaming community, which needs to be given “new game plays” that are simple to understand as well as “competitive” in nature. Hungama would be targeting single player online video games.

What is the difference between the Indian and the international online gaming markets?

The International markets are more advanced as far as gaming is concerned due to the infrastructure for a gaming environment being affordable and very accessible. But this gap is soon closing and in the next year or so, we will see India on par with the rest of the world.

Would the Indian markets address the issue of not having specific hardware for online gaming?

Any form of gaming does require you to have a good graphics and sound cards that are very much available here (but not so affordable). Flash online gaming does however give you a good experience with the most basic of computers. The power gamers, that are a niche set of audience, that participate in MMOG are the ones that require a high configured gaming machine along with high speed bandwidth, again a scenario that is very much becoming accessible.

What is Hungama’s market share in terms of online gaming?

We are in an investment mode and it is too early to comment on market share but we will be a very dominant player both in the online as well as mobile gaming market. Our investment in the online gaming category has been sizeable since the last seven years and that is clearly demonstrated by our portal gaminghungama as well as a library of hundreds of games which will go live in the next 12 months as well as out continuous investment in multiplayer gaming both online and on mobile.

How is the revenue generated?

The revenue models for online games for now are very basic – free games supported by sponsorships and advertising or pay a monthly fee and play a game.

We have invested a lot in content and will definitely go beyond the advertising revenue model. Online micro-payment solutions will help packaging customer friendly revenue models. Casual gamers are willing to invest in pay per use fee but would be unviable for the Indian environment as of immediately.

The far more profitable model combines monthly subscription fees with incremental purchasing opportunities – small monthly fees to certain games and levels. Additional fees will work when attached to a must have wondrous and unbelievably fun game element, the model has already been introduced in USA and will take a while to be permanent. This option will be attached with popular games as the more revenue the game generates the more likely it is to survive across years and levels.

© CyberMedia News

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