Is India 'set to be the next biggest booming market for mobile games?'

Is India 'set to be the next biggest booming market for mobile games?'

Friday, October 27, 2017 Posted by Craig Davies
KamaGames and Yoozoo Games to work on poker title

KamaGames Group have announced plans to expand into the Asian market via a white label social poker title, based on the globally successful ‘Pokerist.’

The developers and publishers of social casino games for mobile platforms, are to launch the venture with global gaming company Yoozoo Games.

TotallyGaming.com has been speaking to Daniel Kashti, KamaGames chief marketing and commercial officer, about the details of the launch and where it could take them going forward.

Totally Gaming:  What was the idea behind this launch?

Daniel Kashti:  The Indian market is set to be the next biggest booming market for mobile games. Recent App Annie analysis indicated that the market is already at the top of the gaming markets globally in terms of downloads from Google Play. 

More widely speaking, between Q2 2014 and Q2 2016, game downloads in India have more than doubled, predominantly by Google Play which was generating 13x more downloads than iOS. 

The market has seen a shift from console and online gaming to mobile gaming. This is in-line with global trends but mostly due to growth and improvement of wireless connectivity (and the availability of WiFi networks), growth of mobile subscribers, availability of low-cost but powerful smartphones and availability of content that has a local flavour. This has reflected well on the share of time Indians are spending playing games on their mobiles.

Some of the latest research suggests that India's mobile gaming market is poised to top $400M by 2022 (CII-TechSci Research report). Revenues from mobile-based gaming stood at $265.8M in 2016 and is forecast to top $285M by YE 2017. App Annie recently published their forecast which suggests that total game revenue in India will reach as high as $1.1B by 2020.

The increased availability of 4G connection and the integration of more payment solutions (including carrier billing supported by major local TelCos) into Google Play Wallet has also had a significant impact on the ability to monetise. 

More so, India has a culture of card games, predominantly local ones.  As you look at the games charts on Google Play and the App Store in India you'll find a lot of social casino games like Teen Patti (a type of a local poker), poker, roulette, slots, bingo and more. There are several very strong local players that publish their games, but alongside these you'll find a lot of the bigger global players at the top of the charts too.  And this has shown an upwards trend over the past 18 months. 

There is of course one caveat, which is that the current grossing numbers are fairly low. It will take a few years of nurturing before we'll start seeing these spending habits change.

All of the above, coupled with the general openness of a large segment of local audiences for Western style games is making the market very interesting for KamaGames. 

TG:  Why choose to partner with Yoozoo Games?

DK:  We have spent a lot of time studying the Indian market and met with most, if not all, of the bigger players in the market. Yoozoo Games is at the top of the game when it comes to gaming and mobile games in particular.

When we started the conversation with their Indian subsidiary we found a strong, professional and passionate team with vast hands-on experience and understanding of the market.

The partnership will see KamaGames developing a branded free-2-play social poker app, which shares the liquidity with our global user base. This means that Yoozoo will benefit from the get-go from our huge liquidity of players - therefore will be able to offer games and competitions to players at levels of the game. KamaGames will also be responsible for live ops and economy management.

Yoozoo Games will bring their experience and expertise in the Indian distribution landscape, the understanding of player’s expectations, and will contribute to localising and culturalising of the app - from the UI to the tournaments and competitions which will be offered.

TG: What are the expansion plans, and how quickly can they be achieved, beyond the Indian market?

DK: KamaGames is operating two parallel activities, one is consumer facing, leveraging the power of our own brands, and the other is through select partnerships.

Our global brand activity has seen a step up over the last 10 months as we started to scale up our acquisition efforts. With over 90m customers downloading our games, and with a pace of over 1.2m new installs every month, we are steadily growing our ecosystem across all of our focus regions - EMEA, North America and Asia.

In some markets we are identifying a stronger local flavor and we aim to cater for it through developing dedicated products. The partnership with Yoozoo is an example for such strategy where we partner with a leading local publisher to culturalise the experience.

The new poker title will have all the features and game modes of Pokerist whilst being fully localised for the Indian market; a name for the game is due to be announced shortly with hopes it will be available on Google Play and the Appstore by the end of the year.

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