Name any major Hollywood movie franchise, chances are that there will be a PC, Xbox or mobile gaming application revolving around it. Although the trend is fast catching on in India—SRK’s Chennai Express and Farhan Akhtar’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag were the latest to cash in on the platform—games based on Bollywood movies have rarely caught the fancy of enthusiasts, leave alone finding a slot in the top of the charts.
This is in stark contrast to the West where the marriage of movies and video games has spawned a booming parallel—some reports peg the world gaming industry at $70.4 billion (R42,000 crore approximately) in 2013 with an audience of 1.2 billion. Franchises like GI Joe, Star Trek and Batman are household names even today, long after they made their way out of cineplexes and with over a couple of million downloads and counting.
In India, unfortunately, many of us don’t even remember, or would want to remember, that there was a game around Ra.One, Agneepath, Dhoom, Singham, Love Story 2050, or Don for that matter. No wonder then that the country’s gaming industry, worth about $250 million, doesn’t even account for 1% of the annual global market.
Amit Ranjan Paul, an avid gamer and a production assistant who tries out almost every title that releases after films, says games in India lack action. “The game on Ra.One, for instance, was so slow that it falls way behind any standards. The ideas, too, are often a cheap imitation of western classics. For us, Mortal Combat or Batman remains a staple for now,” he says. Many of the enthusiasts even laugh at the way Indian games are made.
So what is ailing the Indian gaming industry? Is it the quality of games, the budget—which is often very low—or the lack of focus?
Surprisingly, people involved with the development of games for movies are aware of the shortcomings. They believe that the Indian gaming industry is at a very nascent stage and it still needs a lot of investment to compete at a global level. Manish Kumar, AGM, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, says poor quality, low budgets