If you are a young gamer with thoughts of making millions by developing a game of your own, one of the most exciting opportunities has to be the Indian mobile gaming market. On the back of rapid mobile telephony and mobile internet growth, the Indian mobile gaming market is growing by 50%-100% per year. It comprises a significant opportunity for both large and small game developers who can apply the expertise gained in developing sophisticated games overseas towards a product attuned to Indian tastes.
The Indian gaming market remains small, with one or two key developers and a raft of young upstarts. In 2006, mobile gaming in India comprised a $15 million industry; in 2010 this increased to $100 million. Compared to the billions in mobile gaming revenues earned by carriers overseas, there is significant room for growth. And growth there will be – India completed 3G auctions earlier this year and this will enable carriers (or rather, their game developer partners) to expand from the realm of single player games against artificial intelligence to multi-player games that require faster networks. And Indian telecom carriers are open to working with a host of developers, because the carriers realize the only way they can increase revenue is through value added services (VAS), since they are battering each other on voice revenue competition with some of the lowest rates in the world.
What sets the Indian market apart from developed country markets is that for a vast swathe of the population internet access is and will be gained through mobile devices. While India has some 50 million land line internet connections, there are nearly 700 million mobile phone subscribers and this number is growing rapidly. Within a few years, 1 billion Indians may well have mobile phones and many of these devices will be internet enabled. In fact, mobile telecom operators and device manufacturers are working hard to provide reasonably priced VAS solutions, including internet access, through mobile networks, as it's the only way to quickly bring internet access and connectivity to the masses.
Those foreign firms seeking a toehold in Indian gaming should however beware that success in the Indian market may not be a simple matter of marketing their overseas games to Indian mobile subscribers. That may work in some cases, but if recent history is a guide, some of the most popular and successful games have been based on Indian themes and passions, namely Bollywood and cricket.
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