'Gaming industry will accommodate 50k professionals'

Last Updated 22 May 2016, 18:33 IST

Reliance Games, a part of Reliance Entertainment which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, organised the second edition of Pocket Gamer (PG) Connects — the International Mobile Game Conference in Bengaluru recently. 

A first-of-its-kind conference for the mobile gaming fraternity, PG Connects 2016 saw participation from developers, Indie superstars and global giants including Google, Samsung, Zynga, EA, Rovio, Microsoft; Chinese superstars NetEase&iDreamSky, AppStore hit makers KetchApp (Paris) &FlareGames, Venture Capitalists such as Accel Partners as well as Indian stalwarts – Robosoft, Junglee Games, Nazara and Reliance. 

In an interaction with Deccan Herald’s Umesh M Avvannavar, Reliance Entertainment Digital CEO Amit Khanduja explained the company’s future plans and trends in the Indian gaming industry. 

What are your investment plans for the Indian gaming startups?
We are looking to invest in 20 gaming startups this year. We have also announced investments worth over $50,000 in marketing and technology to support some Indian startups, as part of our PG Connects event. 

Although India is still an emerging game development hub, the talent and startup ecosystem is growing exponentially. We are hoping to see the industry grow to accommodate up to 50,000 professionals working in this space. Reliance Games plans to invest in 20 Indie startups this year. 

Startups and developers can submit their games for review, and we will pick the top 3 and reward them to take their games further. We will also publish it when they are ready to launch the same in India. Another thing is the mobile university, and we are trying to figure out how to make people learn from these different technologies.

What are the opportunities for game developers in India?
Growth in India is humongous. India with 220 million smartphone users currently, has overtaken the US as the second largest user base after China. The Indian smartphone user base has grown at a 26% CAGR from 2013 to 2017. Currently estimated to be about $200 million, the Indian mobile game market is at an inflection point with market size expected to grow to $3 billion by 2019, driven by growing smart phone penetration, and evolution of mobile payment infrastructure.

What is the current size of the Indian gaming industry? 
The Indian gaming industry has grown from Rs 1,000 crore in 2010 to Rs 2,650 crore in 2015. This is projected to grow to Rs 3,080 crore by 2016-end and further to Rs 5,070 crore by the end of December 2020, according to a FICCI-KPMG report. A few years ago, there were about 40 gaming startups and now there are more than 250 startups. 

What are the big challenges in India?
Players do not like paying and it is very hard to figure out the right monetisation. The market is still very young, so the requirement and understanding and maturity are going to take a while. If you can’t follow a process, you can’t design a game which is going to be well accepted. You are not able to do your job and the game becomes a flop.

How do you compare the Indian market with that of other markets globally?
There are two ways to look at it. If we compare with the Indian market on the basis of download, the Indian market is among the top 10 markets right now. We are the second largest downloadable market after China. We can takeover the other markets by the number of downloads. Revenue and monetisation are two different stories altogether. People are not making money in India right now. I think the approach or the way they initiate to approach from a monetisation point of view in the global market is not enough. If you look at it, the credit card penetration in India is at the top at the urban markets compared with tier II or tier III areas. 

In India, even if people have money they won’t use credit cards and they use more cash that is why so many other alternative cash mechanisms have come up in India. People don’t like spending money on gaming stuff, they like it for free. As compared with the Bollywood box office collections and advertisement revenues in India, we expect a change in the gaming sector also and that’s where the opportunity is. So, if we cannot give a proper number from a revenue point of view, I don’t think we are addressing the monetisation correctly in this market.
 Consumer will be bugged if he/she plays a game and an ad appears every five or 10 seconds. Imagine watching a cricket match and every 10 second there is an ad that will be a bad experience, since one would have lost interest and no one would want to watch it. And this is what the Indian eco-system is doing. We are not thinking of consumers, and we have to start thinking. 

You will make money in apps and between ads. But if you just download game and forget about that and don’t build a good or high quality game, then you are going to have a hard time in the market. 

(Published 22 May 2016, 16:38 IST)

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