Business Standard has a good article on the pricing innovation happening in the Indian mobile gaming market.

A look at the innovative pricing / business models:

  • Pay-per-play
  • Satchet packaging
  • Time-based gaming or subscription model
  • Advergaming – the use of mobile games for promotion of a product
  • Game stacks – where packs of three games can be downloaded for Rs 100
  • Splitting of a game into various levels/ parts which allow users to download only a part of the game for a minimal amount
  • Interactive model where users can buy additional weapons, add-ons to enhance the gaming experience

Price points are expected to fall from Rs 50 per download on GSM mobile phones to Rs 25 per download. The cheaper pricing and pay-per


Its a week full of big news.

One of India’s top media and entertainment companies UTV Software has decided to acquire the controlling stake in Indiagames – the largest gaming company in India and Ignition Entertainment – a console gaming company based in UK.

The proposed acquisition of controlling stake in Indiagames is for Rs 68 crore, while a 70 per cent stake in Ignition Entertainment is for around Rs 60 crore.

IG pioneered mobile and online gaming in India and is presently involved with mobile game development, publishing and distribution across 67 countries through 80 telecom partners like Vodafone, Verizon, Hutch and Airtel. Its latest venture into PC games distributed online through broadband ISPs like BSNL, MTNL, Airtel and Tata VSNL amongst others is expected to be a major value driver for the Company.

Vishal Gondal, CEO and Founder of Indiagames, will continue to head the company.

TOM Online may exit Indiagames


Indiagames Even as Indiagames is tapping the private equity market to raise about $25m for expansion, there are reports that its majority stake holder, China’s TOM Online, is looking to exit the company.

TOM had invested $18-20 million for a majority stake in the company in 2004. Soon after it diluted its stake to 62%, with Adobe and Cisco infusing fresh funds.

According to ET, Yahoo, Google and Amazon could line up for a controlling interest in the gaming company.

Vishal Gondal, CEO of Indiagames, said he was unaware of TOM Online’s exit plans.

“We are looking for a large round of growth capital since we are focusing on the domestic mobile and online gaming market.


Second Annual Mobile Gaming Conference 2006

12th & 13th of October 2006

ITC Grand Maratha Sheraton & Towers, Mumbai

Rs 24,500 + Taxes

Click here for more details.

The focus areas of this Conference are:

  • Multiplayer & 3D Gaming for India
  • Handset Manufacturer’s perspective
  • VC Funding for Mobile Technology
  • Advergaming: The next BIG stint for promotions?
  • Debate on Revenue Sharing
  • Benchmark on International Experience


Nazara has announced the launch of two games based on popular cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni developed for Qualcomm’s BREW platform. It will also launch Dhoni’s wallpapers and screensavers.

In Dhoni Tappebaaz, the user will have to skillfully keep the ball off the ground by striking it with his bat. Dhoni Tappebaaz also will have a community-based feature that will enable users to compete with each other and participate in contests.

Dhoni Dhamaka has been designed with Dhoni’s hard-hitting batting style in mind. In this game, players will have to score the maximum number of runs, hitting as many sixes and fours as possible.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

The company has Sachin Tendulkar and Archie Comics in its brand portfolio, and develops mobile media content based on them. Nazara claims to have setup India’s largest dedicated 3D mobile game studio.


Sometime back I had blogged about Paradox Studios’ strategy of developing games around wellknown brands and personalities.

After developing games starring Hollywood actor Van Damme, Paradox has signed up with the legendary football star Baichung Bhutia to create Mobile game titles based on the popular Indian football icon. The games will be a mix of strategy, skill and speed and will even feature some of Bhutia’s signature moves for football fans.

Its good to see an Indian company going beyond cricket for a sports game. Though brands can act as initial crowd-pullers, a game has to stand on its own for it to be a hit. So who’s taking Advantage Sania – a sure shot crowd puller.


According to ToI, the Indian mobile gaming industry is expected to touch Rs 1,500 crore by 2015 from the current figure of Rs 80 crore.

The article goes on to say that nearly 15,000 games are being downloaded everyday in India. The charges for downloads are usually upwards of Rs 50.

Doing some maths:
80,00,00,000 / (15,000 * 365) = 146

With 15,000 downloads a day and an industry turnover of Rs 80 crore, the average price of a game comes to Rs 146. This seems high. Am I missing something?


Paradox Studios, the digital gaming content arm of Reliance Infocomm, seems to be adopting a strategy to signup wellknown brands and personalities and develop mobile games around them. There are two ways to develop a game – especially mobile games. Remember, mobile game developers have to operate with form-factor and porting constraints.

One way is to come up with a original concept (like the ubiquitous snake game) and hope for it spread through word-of-mouth till it reaches a critical mass and the operator notices its popularity. The problem with this approach is that one can’t always come up with original blockbuster concepts. Imagine the difficulty film-makers face when releasing a film with all-new starcast.

The other way is to develop games around wellknown brands, personalities, films, themes etc. This way you can bank on the popularity of the subject to catch attention and spur the intial interest. It can promise at least a good opening – similar to releasing a film with Abhishek Bachchan or Shah Rukh in it.

Paradox has signed up Van Damme, the Belgium-born Hollywood action star, to promote at least two mobile games developed by it. The company is also looking to sign up other international stars including cricketing personalities. It has already released the BMX Extreme game, for which it has roped in an international BMX stunt team to promote it. Paradox is also on the verge of signing up two leading Bollywood stars and one action hero from the South on multiple year deals that will include marketing and game promotion.

Van Damme gets an upfront guarantee fee, apart from revenue share. Apart from mobile operators in India, Paradox is also negotiating with others in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the US. Hutch in Thailand, where kick boxing is popular, is likely to pick up the games.

Paradox is planning to launch games in Indian languages including Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi. It has already launched three mobile games in Hindi – Carom, Chhoomantar and Dhanurdhari.

According to industry estimates, almost 8-9 million games are downloaded every year in India. Games based on cricket, Bollywood and Hollywood movies and racing are the most popular downloads. The charges range between Rs 15 to Rs 150 per game.

NASSCOM has estimated the Indian mobile gaming market to grow at a whopping CAGR of 89.1% to touch $205 million in 2009 from $16 million in 2005. The market for gaming development in general is expected to touch $300 million in 2009 from an estimated $30 million in 2005.

Source: DNA


Rashmi Bansal collates all the numbers in all the articles on mobile gaming that are mushrooming in the media recently. She does a good job of bringing out the inconsistency in numbers and the apparent lack of fact-checking when using the numbers dished out by industry players.

Minus the PR generated hype, I do believe mobile gaming will form a significant chunk of the VAS revenues for the operator. And once multiplayer games with online components are introduced, subscription charging models can only increase the revenues.

Half of India is below 25 years of age and penetration of mobiles is the highest in the 20-30 years segment. Therefore, it should not be difficult for mobile games to achieve a 8-10% share of VAS revenues in the next few years.


India’s leading gaming companies, including Dhruva Interactive, Electronic Arts, Hungama, Indiagames, Mauj, Microsoft India (Entertainment & Devices Division), Mobile2Win, Paradox Studios, Small Device and Tinfo Mobile, have formed the Indian Games Industry and Trade Association (iGITA).

Vishal Gondal, CEO, Indiagames, said, that despite having a large talent pool of artists, programmers and designers, “ironically, the gaming industry is still facing a shortage of resources. iGITA will be the first industry alliance that will channel its efforts towards growing and nurturing the skill and expertise available in the country.