@AGI: Casual Gaming Might Not Scale; Advertising Portals On TV Doesn't Help

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During the gaming panel, Vishal Gondal, CEO of Indiagames focused on the need for distribution – Cable TV killed pirated videos because, at Rs. 100, you get all the channels. We can keep crying about revenue share, but someone needs to invest in distribution – which is why they invested in Games on Demand. Monetization is by mining data on consumers – they know which card, how much PC memory, and can provide data to the likes of NVidia.

Kreeda Games CEO Quentin Staes-Polet said that players are spending between Rs. 10 to Rs. 600 per month on clothes and apparels on Dance Mela. They’ll also be monetizing with in-game ads.

Games2Win launched an MMOG last week – a racing game sponsored by Hyundai and published by SEGA. Alok Kejriwal, CEO of Games2win said that one can’t really estimate how advertising online will work out, and how the consumer will respond – when Mobile2win had given projections for Indian Idol, they had grossly underestimated. Some stats: for Bombay Taxi, highest plays came from Norway, while India is 18th on the list.

Zapak has 3 million users (for gaming, not email), and around 70 percent visit the site at least once a week. Asked by Dhruva CEO Rajesh Rao about the difference beween miniclip and Zapak, when content is more or less the same, Rohit Sharma, COO of Zapak said that Zapak is building a brand; since Zapak launched, the India traffic for miniclip increased. Yes, casual gaming might not scale for Zapak, so they’re looking at MMOGs for making money.

More in the extended text

On the need for spending on advertising, all were thankful that Zapak came along and spent the money. But Kejriwal isn’t sure if offline advertising really helps. Everyone knew indiainfo.com, but nobody went there. Everyone knew Home Trade, but no one knew what it was. So it’s not about advertising a portal, but virality of content. Rohit Sharma of Zapak countered that he needs to invest and get returns, and everyone’s model is different. Someone in the audience asked about violence in games, and the panelists (apart from Rohit Sharma, of course) hoped that Zapak would spend some money on educating parents about the benefits of gaming.

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) sucks a lot of advertising dollars, so dependancy on advertising is scary said Vishal Gondal. Mainly financial institutions, and portals like Shaadi and Naukri are advertising – not very relevant for a gaming site. N one knows how the market is beyond the early adopters. Mohit Anand of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) added that no one knows what will happen when this thing explodes.

How soon before we get some serious traction?
5-6 years appeared to be the consensus.

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