Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mobile Gaming: Too many 'wrong numbers'

It's being touted as the Next Big Thing. But how big depends on which numbers you believe. And there are a LOT of different figures floating around right now.

Yesterday ET
declared: "Paid download figures for mobile games are around 600,000 a month but it could be anything between 50-60% more".

Huh? Why can't ET arrive at a fixed figure for number of paid downloads after speaking to all mobile operators? I can understand operators overstating downloads - why would they understate them by 50% ??

Incidentally, on 22 Nov 2005, Hindu Businessline reported 450,000 downloads a month. "And it is growing by 30-40 per cent". Annually, or monthly? Must be the latter if it's 600,000 less than 45 days later - which is impressive.

Perspective, please
Hutch says that it has had a 50 fold rise on downloads (from 2200 per month in Feb 2005 to 120,000 per month currently). But while growth is heady the numbers are chickenfeed compared to ringtone downloads - 300,000 a DAY.

That's about 9 million downloads a month.

Of course the average ringtone costs Rs 10-15 while the average game costs Rs 50. Still 80% of Value Added Services revenue come from ringtone and caller tunes as of now; games accounts for 2-8%.

In light of that statistic this statement by Business Standard does not make sense: "Within a year, the market (for mobile games in India) has expanded from a mere Rs 25 crore to at least Rs 80 crore in 2005".

3rd standard mathematics problem: The ringtone market in 2005 was estimated at Rs 150 crores (a figure that appears correct given the no of downloads X Rs 10-15 per download formula).

8% of Rs 150 crores? Closer to 12 crores than 80 crores!

CIOL on the other hand estimates (correctly, I think) that the market size of wireless/mobile games in India was US $3 million (Rs 13.5 crores) in 2004. They explain how the figure was arrived at:

It is estimated that, on average, there are 200,000 downloads of games via GPRS network of the cellular mobile players - Orange, Airtel, Idea, and BPL. The market size estimation assumes an average charge of Rs 50 per download.

Elementary, my dear Watson. Maybe all journalists should be put through a compulsory course in addition and multiplication!

And oh, somewhere in the equation lie another 15 million free game downloads in the CDMA space.

More maths lessons
Sorry for throwing all these figures at you - honestly I am the last person to show off when it comes to mathematics (my worst subject at school). But bear with me, there is a point in all this somewhere.

Currently India has approximately 76 million mobile-phone subscribers .

The question is - how many have GPRS/ java/ colour screen handsets? Pyramid Research, an Economist Group company estimates that "almost a third of Indian mobile users are restricted from gaming due to a lack of sophisticated handset availability".

The Pyramid survey shows that around 32% of cellphone users in India play games on their mobiles - double the UK figure. Obviously these are pre-loaded games like Snake, given that we don't see corresponding figures of downloads.

Again I fail to understand how this FE journalist concluded that "Indian mobile gaming market constitutes 5% of the world share".In 2004 the mobile gaming market in China ALONE topped $98 million.

Arun Gupta, COO Mauj Telecom says, "With the introduction of faster networks and colour java handsets becoming more affordable, the Indian mobile gaming market is expected to grow tenfold in five years."

Fair enough - sounds entirely plausible. But according to a research by In-Stat/MDR , the Indian mobile gaming market is projected to grow to $336 million by 2009.

From $3 million in 2004 to $ 336 million is um... just not going to happen. The analysts are in the business of making dizzying projections - the figures get printed - everyone feels good.

It's like the astrologer who makes yearly predictions. No one checks back on the 99 things he predicted which did NOT come true (I distinctly remember one gent who predicted on Jan 1 2005 that Salman and Aishwarya would get back together..)

Magar agar ek bhi prediction sahi nikli - ya 50% bhi sahi nikli - both astrologer and analyst ki lottery lag gayi!

Who's playing
Back to the gaming conundrum. You and me know ringtones are huge - everyone has them. But games? Ask 10 people around you and it's unlikely that any has downloaded a mobile game.

Survey after survey by JAM magazine confirms that the 15-22 year old India metro-based youth is not an avid mobile gamer - at least not of the download variety.

Why? For one, they aren't impressed with the quality of games on offer. Most Indian developers are churning out a large quantity of games but there's no one game that's proved addictive enough to spread by word-of-mouth and become a must-have.

Secondly, Rs 50 (going upto Rs 150) is not a sum you want to throw away on a dud game download. Earlier operators did allow you to download a trial version of a game for Rs 20 but that seems to have been scrapped.

So neither do we have a killer app in mobile gaming, nor a price so low that the average Anand doesn't think twice before making an impulse download.

Games at throwaway prices (I'm thinking Rs 10) could expand downloads significantly. Mobile operators know better than anyone else that once they've hooked you, they've cooked you. That, and they would need to identify a few 'killer games' which junta would want to own.

The combination of affordability + desirability is crucial.

The Action shifts
The interesting thing is, currently B and C towns are driving a large portion of the growth in value-added services for the mobile industry. Techtree reports:

In such towns, mobile entertainment cost is almost considered as mainstream entertainment, because of the lack of an alternative."

Which is why Mauj has just launched mobile games in Hindi and 7 regional languages including Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Urdu. The move is targeted at regional audiences, as only 3 to 5 percent of the populace is familiar with English.

The 3 games developed by Mauj - "Mastibhari Udaan," "Saahas Ka Yudh," and "Jaanbaaz".

This is also why Bollywood based games are finding favour with developers. According to Mid-day: On average, a movie sells 7,000 to 10,000 copies with more popular movies like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun even going up to 25,000 downloads. The Sholay game, which kicked off the Bollywood-mobile gaming frenzy has over 50,000 downloads so far.

Again, you and me would probably not download these games - but their appeal to the large mass of users is high. So they do make good business sense.

Among the SEC A and B metro crowd Nokia's Ngage was high on the most-wanted list last year. But now, the lack of camera and FM have reduced its appeal.

Bottomline: Mobile gaming will grow in popularity - since the base is small to begin with the growth will appear spectacular. But better - and more affordable - games are the need of the hour.

And honest statistics derived from common sense calculations need to be used by the breathless reporters helping to hype up the phenomenon. Wrong numbers are inevitable in telecom. They should not be, in journalism!

Although, as I type those words, I worry... Kya mere saare calculations correct hain?



  1. Interesting read. It's certainly very irresponsible to create a hype based on false calculations and misrepresented figures.

  2. It is always the same. Analyst after analyst, journalist after journalist predicts numbers based on frivolous analysis and then the hype dies down.

    Remember the figures that late Mr. Dewang Mehta used to throw at Indians. He & his association never used to climb below a figure of a few hundred billion dollars of e-commerce happening by the year 2005. Ofcourse reality (though quite good) is much more moderate. The same happened to the outsourcing markets - people lined to provide medical transcription services & later realised the hyped up figures. It is only now - that the market seems to be maturing. The same seems to be happening to education market. My next take would be figures that would be thrown about bio technology as business.

    I remember an Indore Management Convention where former CEO of HLL - Mr, Dutta suggested that figures predicted about e-commerce cannot be met for the simple reason that both computer & internet reach in India is limited. So while there is enormous potential the road to greener pastures is a long & grueling one. Same is true of most industries.

    Great piece Rashmi.

  3. A day will come when Indian subscribers will say 'Quit playing GAMES with my mobile'! :)
    Nice read. Very well researched.


  4. Good read, and very timely one too, as currently (12th and 13th Jan), NASSCOM is hosting the biggest gaming and animation event in India.
    Offlate, I have stopped believing in numbers thrown by analysts. But looking it from other side, it does help to probe further into the predictions, but with one's own assumptions and analysis.
    Its same with analysts all over the world, some others in the list being nanotechnology, fuelcells, MEMS, product outsourcing etc.
    But they do the good job of spreading the optimism, albeit ending too optimist most of the times, but if reports are not so promising then who'll read and discuss (or flaunt) them at the so called power-meetings.

  5. Hi Rashmi,
    yes another well researched article!
    yes, the analysts operate in a very hypothetical domain and the very fact that these newspapers publish these figures (ET tops the list with so many such hypothetical figures) shows how much interest they have in the credibility of the figures. May be, they do this to prop up the sentiments of the general public or to increase their revenue, but it is the reader who is left confused at last!
    Another example, ET said Jet might buy Air Sahara for close to 3000 crores while CNN-IBN said Jet might acquire for around $ 560m. But, alas, the news is yet to be verified. In the race for being the first, they hush up numbers and print it. Such number tinkering activities will definitely increase in the upcoming days!

  6. Rashmi, I hope YOU don't make the same mistake that the others are making:

    "Which is why Mauj has just launched mobile games in Hindi and 7 regional languages including Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Urdu. The move is targeted at regional audiences, as only 3 to 5 percent of the populace is familiar with English." (emphasis mine)

    This puts all other languages, other than Hindi at a sub-par level and we know this is not true. I hope you will take note of what I said in the right spirit :-).

  7. Well Rashmi I have been reading ur blogs from quite often .... But I am surprised to see u often criticising....Yaar ek aajibo garib pesimist attitude dikhayi deta hain.....
    Yaar kuch karo....

  8. Hey,
    TOI, Bangalore flicked the idea off your blog. :-)
    I'd read what you'd posted a few days back, thought whether I should put in my two cents worth about mobile gaming, decided not to, and went home. Within a couple of days, what do I see? TOI, Bangalore edition has a similar article.. :-)

  9. You're forgetting the piracy element in your equations. All you need to download these games for free is google and a little knowledge. Amongst all my friends who are into computer games, none of them has, to my knowledge, ever bought a mobile game. As for me, all my games are donated by the, um, file fairy. I put a blank CD under my pillow.

  10. Blogged this here with my comments.

  11. Don't know how jad and jar files landed on your phone. Ideally, when you click on the link of sent to you, game should INSTALL on your handset.

    Ashish Patil

  12. I recently visited, and i was surprised to see that they are offering all the highly rated mobile games absolutely free. And that's not all they have free mobile games for virtually all the brands of mobile games. You need to first register and choose your mobile phone and then you can download cell phone games via SMS, WAP or you can download them on to your pc.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Anonymous11:24 AM

    减速机 齿轮减速机 SEW减速机 摆线针轮减速机 蜗轮蜗杆减速机 interlining
    明星代言 明星经纪公司
    制动单元 铝壳电阻
    modern abstract art sofa manufacturer
    净水器 开水器 净水机 净水 软水机 软水 直饮机 家用净水 家用净水器 家用净水机 中央净水 中央净水器 水家装 水家电 水卫士 混合机
    过滤机 DHL快递 俄罗斯签证 回转支承 Laser marking
    保险箱 法兰 法兰标准
    polycarbonate sheet 回流焊 波峰焊
    压球机 注册上海公司 儿童摄影
    牛皮癣 皮肤病 制氮机
    食堂售餐机 校园一卡通
    学校一卡通 ic卡售饭机
    食堂售饭机 深圳一卡通
    广东售饭机 机电设备安装
    北京发票 代开发票
    餐饮发票 住宿发票
    网络电话 免费网络电话
    假发 补发
    织发 植发
    压滤机 板框压滤机
    蒸馏水机 纯蒸气发生器
    上海搬家公司 上海搬场公司
    大众搬家 大众搬场
    张家界旅游 香港旅游
    深圳旅行社 打包机
    收缩机 对讲机 电源模块
    售饭机 水控机 水控器
    萎缩性胃炎 neoprene laptop bags
    SEO优化 计量泵
    胃炎 胃病
    冷水机 冰水机
    北京特价机票 北京打折计票 北京国际机票
    北京机票预定 北京飞机票
    北京订机票 北京机票查询 饮料机械
    银杏 水培花卉 企业宣传片 空分设备
    化工泵 离心机
    电话交换机 程控交换机 集团电话 集装袋
    混合机 混合机
    混合机捏合机 捏合机
    捏合机导热油炉 导热油炉
    导热油炉 反应釜 反应釜
    反应釜 spherical roller bearing
    搬运车 搬运车 电动搬运车 油桶搬运车 堆高车 电动堆高车 半电动堆高车 堆垛车
    高空作业平台车 电动叉车 平衡重叉车 前移叉车 电瓶叉车
    韩国饰品批发 模块电源
    X架 超薄灯箱> 易拉宝 展柜制作
    代理服务器 游戏加速器 网络加速器
    网通加速器 电信加速器 电信网通转换器
    电信网通加速器 网通电信互转
    网通电信互通 网络游戏加速器
    美国VPN代理 美国独享VPN 美国独享IP
    pvc ceiling panel Spherical roller bearings
    安全鞋 劳保鞋 防砸鞋 电绝缘鞋 上海安全鞋 上海劳保鞋 江苏劳保鞋
    服装软件 服装管理软件 进销存软件
    进销存管理软件 服装管理系统 服装进销存软件
    进销存系统 进销存管理系统 免费进销存软件
    吉林中医 东北特产
    阳痿 阴茎短小 阴茎增大
    早泄 前列腺炎 阴茎增粗 阴茎延长
    国际机票 上海国际机票
    国际特价机票 国际打折机票
    砂磨机 砂磨机
    砂磨机 卧式砂磨机
    卧式砂磨机 卧式砂磨机
    三辊研磨机 三辊研磨机
    三辊研磨机 混合机 混合机
    混合机 锥形混合机 锥形混合机 锥形混合机 行星动力混合机 行星动力混合机 行星动力混合机 无重力混合机 无重力混合机 无重力混合机
    干粉砂浆设备 干粉砂浆设备
    干粉砂浆设备 捏合机 捏合机 捏合机 导热油炉 导热油炉 导热油炉 反应釜 反应釜 反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜 搪玻璃反应釜
    乳化机 涂料设备 干混砂浆设备 无重力混合机 胶体磨 涂料成套设备 双螺旋混合机
    北京婚庆 北京婚庆公司
    办证 呼吸机 制氧机
    亚都 亚都加湿器 亚都净化器
    饰品批发 小饰品批发 韩国饰品 韩国饰品批发 premature ejaculation penis enlargement
    安利产品 马来西亚留学
    网站优化 网站推广
    论文代写 代写论文
    拖链 防护罩 排屑机 塑料拖链 钢铝拖链
    深圳装饰 深圳装饰公司 深圳装修公司
    特价机票 打折机票 国际机票
    新风换气机 换气机 立式新风换气机 风机箱 新风系统 能量回收机
    搅拌机 混合机 乳化机
    毛刷 毛刷辊 工业毛刷 刷子 钢丝刷
    涂层测厚仪 硬度计
    兆欧表 激光测距仪
    测振仪 转速表
    温湿度计 风速仪
    噪音计 红外测温仪
    硬度计 万用表
    美容院 美容加盟
    澳洲留学 澳大利亚留学
    酒店预定 北京酒店预定 北京酒店
    nail equipment nail products nail product nail uv lamp nail uv lamp nail uv lamps uv nail lamp nail brush
    nail file nail tool nail tip nail gel curing uv lamps lights
    万用表 风速仪
    红外测温仪 噪音计
    苗木价格 苗木信息 标牌制作 深圳标牌 北京儿童摄影 防静电鞋 淘宝刷信誉
    威海凤凰湖 威海海景房 大庆密封件
    打标机 淘宝刷信誉 TESOL/TEFL国际英语教师证书 英语教师进修及培训 北京快递公司 北京国际快递

  15. Anna- Designer PetLine Cat Shampoo
    Anna- Designer PetLine Cat Shampoo

  16. 导热油炉吴桥县导热油炉锅有限责任公司是全国最大的生产导热油炉生产基地之一,公司主要生产各种导热油炉锅,熔盐炉, 转盘轴承,管式加热炉,蒸汽发生器,一二类压力容器.徐州回转支承 公司提供转盘轴承 --slewing ring slewing bearing slewing bearings服务. automation-industrial-industrial automation-slewing bearingslewing bearings

  17. Anonymous8:16 AM

    ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

    徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

    徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,

    徵信, 徵信社,徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 離婚, 外遇,離婚,

    徵信, 外遇, 離婚, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信社, 征信, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信,


Disqus for Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth