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Social Gaming In India-Future of Billion Dollar Social Gaming Industry


Social Gaming Overall

Social gaming has grown at astounding rates since 2009.  Today we will delve deeper into the  billion dollar social game industry – its monetization, development, customer acquisition, and the key questions.

Worldwide, social gaming fetches around USD $1 billion a year.  According to Ficci-KPMG’s Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2011, India accounts for an estimated 8 to 10 million social media gamers. Zynga, one of the most successful social game developers, has close to 270 million active monthly users.

Is Facebook still the safe home for social gaming?  Well, some analysts and leading game developers feel that the platform has become too difficult to use as an entry point as compared to 2009.

Facebook’s continuous actions that limit the viral channels and force the usage of “Facebook Credits” (a virtual currency created by Facebook to facilitate monetary transactions – Facebook takes a 30% cut), have created vastly different place for game developers to operate today versus just a year ago.  Different in a “harder for developers to turn a profit” sort of way.  We’ll see where it goes from here.

Top 10 Social Game Developers of 2011 Based on the Number of Monthly Active Users (AppData)

  1. Zynga – 249,535,306
  2. Wooga – 34,912,129
  3. Electronic Arts – 30,859,235
  4. Playdom – 29,785,083
  5. CrowdStar – 22,288,327
  6. Digital Chocolate – 21,382,140
  7. Social Point – 20,764,775
  8. Popcap Games – 17,467,269
  9. Gaia Online – 15,075,702
  10. – 14,689,048

Saying Zynga leads the social gaming industry from this viewpoint is an understatement.

Top 10 Facebook games for 2011

Rank Game Developer Monthly active user
1 City Ville Zynga 49.300.000
2 Farm Ville Zynga 30.800.000
3 The Sims Social EA Playfish 30.100.000
4 Zynga Poker Zynga 29.500.000
5 Castle Ville Zynga 23.100.000
6 Empires & Allies Zynga 18.000.000
7 World With Friends Zynga 12.400.000
8 Diamond Dash Wooga 11.300.000
9 Mafia Wars 2 Zynga 10.500.000
10 Bubble Island Wooga  9.800.000

Social Games in India

India, which is still in the infant stage of social gaming industry according to report in Business Standard, will see its first Indian social game based on a movie, Ra.One (sort of).  “This is different from what we have done so far in Bollywood. Games have been used as part of the marketing strategy. But these (social games) are just one-off games. In the case of Ra.One, we work with the character and create stories around it,” says UTV Indiagames chief executive Vishal Gondal.

Indiagames, which has already invested around Rs 4.5 crore in developing the game, was acquired by Walt Disney in $80-100 mn deal later this year.  The Ra.One social game will be based on the freemium model – users will have to pay for advanced features and accessories that can range between Rs 5 and Rs 100.  The Ra.One social game will be launched on multiple platforms: mobile phones, tablets, and social networking sites like Facebook.

“The games will also be targeted at gamers across countries.  People who know about Shah Rukh Khan and Ra.One will probably come and play, but the idea is to take it to gamers who like to play superhero games,” says Gondal.

Basically, the idea is that they want to create a franchise out of Ra.One.  Red Chillies Entertainment’s Digital and New Media Head, Shailja Gupta, back up this belief.  “Social gaming is just one part of the digit marketing strategy.  The unique part of the social game is the integration of merchandise and gaming. Never before has anyone tried this model in India,”

According to the ficci-KPMG report, the social gaming market was Rs 240 crore in 2010 and expected to be Rs 1,430-crore market by 2014. The personal computer and online gaming market is expected to grow at 37.8 per cent annually from 2009 to 2014, with revenue of Rs 610 crore by the latter year.

The year 2011 will be remembered as a landmark year for social gaming as Zynga filed its IPO, Google launched Google+, and Facebook launched the Credits transition.

Social gaming has seen a new concept of virtual currency take hold.  Can virtual currency become the new optional currency for  the world trade?  Right now, of course not, but the future is a strange thing.

Editor’s note:  The virtual currency concept has been around in gaming for years in other genres.

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