Survival in the Gaming Industry

12th May 2014 | By Mouseworld Now Correspondent |
adnan-chara-mitashi

Adnan Chara

I have become a keen student of the gaming industry after being a part of it for the last 7 years. These days the question “Will gaming industry in India survive or not?” has been asked to me quite often. To me, the question  looks similar to the question “Will people stop worshipping if a calamity hits a small part of their lives?

 

Before asking this question, we must ask ourselves, “Have people stopped gaming or for that matter reduced gaming?” And when you see a far larger set of consumers gaming on their smart phones, tablets, DTH and specialized android gaming device of the likes of Thunderbolt launched by Mitashi, the answer you get of course is a big “NO”.

 

People writing obituaries of gaming industry in India are in fact, writing obituaries of console and PC gaming which was its torch bearer for the past 15 years. But, as I maintain, gaming industry, even in the past has never had constant rulers. It is just that when rulers change, blind followers of the particular ruler feel disillusioned. The constant challenges that gaming as an industry faces are brought in by advancements in technology and consumer’s affiliation with those advancements. This industry will never have constant rulers. Gaming industry is a place where change is the norm and where transition from one platform to another is a new opportunity. What does this do to game developers? Game developers constantly get new opportunities to push the boundaries of their craft to create still more compelling game plays with relevant story lines involving emotionally believable characters with newer and faster evolving platforms; yet within buying capacity of the consumer.

 

It will be difficult to connect the dots by only looking forward; we can connect them when we look backwards.

 

If you go to the roots, leaving ‘The Brown Box’ (later renamed Magnavox Odyssey) developed in 1967, the real advent of gaming happened with the launch of Atari Pong in 1976. The period of 1975 to 1995 belonged to Atari and Sega. The scene changed when in 1995 Play station was launched giving birth to new rulers of the industry. The period of 1995 to 2010 was dominated by PC Gaming apart from the giants – Microsoft (X Box), Nintendo (Wii/ DS) and Sony (Play station -4 formats), all requiring their respective format driven specific software. From 2010, Apple’s IOS and more importantly the very open ‘Come one – come all’ platform from Google Android started taking shape and penetrating deeper first as a communication platform, then as an entertainment platform – gaming being part of the entertainment offering. Apart from every android and IOS run device, this wave gave advent to Chromate, Ouya and more aptly designed and priced GAME in Thunder Bolt hand held consoles from Mitashi.

 

While it is easy to say today that hard core gaming can only be played only on the yesteryear’s gaming consoles, let us not forget that with the kind of financial and marketing muscle that a Google and Apple have, they will be more than ready to infuse far more immersive and hardcore gaming content to create a differential against each other and against typical gaming consoles. It is only some time away when all studios will first offer their games on these platforms with the “Touch” gaming advantage and console gaming will hardly be left with “The content advantage”.

 

As a marketing professional, what excites you more, an era when you had to worry about increasing console base to sell gaming software or an era where every individual on the road is carrying one console or the other (read Smart Phone or tablet) and all you have to worry about is creating content which is compelling enough for the consumer to purchase.

 

The big issue with Indian consumers is that they are very difficult to please into paying for content. While there is an insatiable hunger for entertainment content, consuming it for free is what suits us most (Piracy of any form is accepted as part of life even by the most elite) and it is due to this that in the last decade, consoles that allowed themselves for piracy (read Playsytation 2/ PSP/ Playsytation 3 and X Box 360 for some time) made sense for the Indian audience. As it stands today, paying for a console priced at Rs.15000 and above with recurring cost of software priced Rs.1000 and above becomes a business model where one is only targeting a niche audience with extreme hunger for hardcore gaming content.

 

Another issue is that with the background of a great treasure of mythological and historical stories, also with background of Bollywood, Tollywood so many stories with Indian characters can be told and console gaming will never have the numbers (that too divided between various formats) to create a healthy eco-system that can take very high production values. Here is where android steps in as a mass consuming gaming platform.

 

The estimated current industry size is Rs. 1300 Crore with more than 850 crores already being contributed by mobile, social and browsing games. The rest being PC, console and on line gaming.

To me, this is the most exciting phase of Indian gaming industry and emotions aside, there is lot of money to be made. We just need to have the right content that is compelling enough or hardware like that of Thunder Bolt that allows gaming consumption at nil or minimal cost, this apart from it being equipped with full throttle multimedia and entertainment features.

 

—-By Adnan Chara, VP – Gaming, Toys and Telecom, Mitashi

 

(Views expressed by the author expressed in the article are his own. Mouseworld Now doesn’t own responsibility for the views expressed in the article)

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