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Eye On India: Mobile Games Rising


October 7, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next
 

Nick Lane, chief analyst of MobileSQUARED and co-author of India: Birth of a Mobile Content Superpower, 2009-2013 is in full agreement that the carriers are squarely to blame for the stasis in the market.

"Some carriers are demanding a revenue share of up to 80% on content transactions, which is placing a ridiculous and unprecedented amount of pressure on the mobile games community. Until this changes, operators are effectively squeezing the life out of the value chain.

"In the West, the [Apple] App Store has forced carriers to revise this stake in the revenue pie to around 30% -- giving the majority of revenues to the developer. This has to happen in India for the content market, and games in particular, to really boom, but this is unlikely to happen before 2013," he says.

Lane goes on to explain the dichotomy in India between urban and rural areas and how he expects the mobile games market to bifurcate.

"Such is the divide between the urban and rural population that there will be different demands coming from each socioeconomic sector. The urban market is more likely to adopt high-end smartphones and access high-end gaming, whereas the rural market will be dominated by low- to mid-range devices.

"This means functionality of the games will be limited to cater for the lower processors in these devices. We predict a split in the mobile games market, which will also be reflected in a two-tier pricing model for smartphones and basic devices," he says.

But what of Western content in the land of 330 million Hindu Gods and where Bollywood and cricket are a national fascination? Will the carriers close off the market to non-Indian content owners and only market Indian games?

Not according to Kristan Rivers, executive director of digital entertainment, Asia-Pacific, for Paramount Pictures. A native Texan, Rivers has worked in the UK, Japan, South Korea, China, and Singapore, and has sold mobile games "on every continent except Antarctica".

His recent appointment to Paramount comes at a time when the company is extending its Asian footprint and India is key to Rivers' strategy moving forward.

"We want to leverage our content over all platforms and India is one of our key markets. Any territory that has almost 400 million mobile subscribers and only 80 million fixed broadband users is obviously a target for us. We see no barriers to entry in India and our relationships with Indian carriers are very healthy.

"At Paramount we are looking at IP licensing our content for casual games and while we distribute huge movies such as Transformers and GI Joe, the actual IP is owned by other companies (in these cases Hasbro). This means the IP owners generally cut movie-tie-in games with traditional mobile games publishers.

"But that's not all. We have a large portfolio of content that we want to bring to mobile games and we need transparency and quality. In India we can't rely on the GSM networks for instant delivery of our mobile games so we will be working with some innovative partners doing really cool things to circumvent this problem," he says.


Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

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