A gaming developer in Bhubaneswar has been able to earn revenues of $40 million a year with Bingo Bash. But not every developer is that lucky. For Indian developers, the main challenge is to crack the tough question of targetting the right market and the right platform able to monetise their games
Every game developer in India is dreaming of coming up with their own ‘Angry Birds’, the blockbuster video game from Rovio Entertainment that crossed a billion downloads and is headed for an IPO. But while developing games is the easy part, getting to monetise the games is getting harder. And, Indian gaming companies are having to work that extra bit to keep the cash registers ringing so that they can develop winning games.
Rajesh Rao, founder and CEO of Dhruva Interactive, a 15-year-old gaming company, and chairperson of the NASSCOM Gaming Forum, says there was an eight-fold increase in casual gamers in India last year, and thanks to the growing popularity of smart phones, the access to gaming is growing. So gaming studios are springing up across the country. NASSCOM now has seven city chapters for gamers while their Facebook group has 2,100 members with 15-30 members joining in every week, says Rao. Last year there were 130 gaming companies, up from 25 companies in 2008, and there are many more companies working in stealth mode or in small two to three people teams which are not included in the list, says Rao. The surge on the development side will mean there will be lots of “Made in India” games, says Rao. There is also a lot of funding available with six to seven gaming companies getting funded last year.
While the opportunity is clearly there, confusion also persists about what route to take. Should they develop games for the Indian market, which is still at its nascent stage, or should they develop games for the developed global markets to build revenues rather than risking it out in the Indian market?
The game developers’ community in India has to deal with the disruption caused by the emergence of social gaming as