Mobile Mavens

Will Google Play integration in digital wallets affect Indian game revenues?

Will Google Play integration in digital wallets affect Indian game revenues?

Following the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes by the Indian government in November 2016, there's been an increasing push towards digital payments.

Many have speculated what this could mean for mobile game payments in the country, which have been historically low due to a lack of both infrastructure and intent.

And now, two of India's biggest digital wallets - Paytm and Freecharge - are allowing users to buy Google Play credit through their services, which can in turn be used to spend on apps and games.

But will this make any real difference? We put it to our Indian Mavens:

  • Will the introduction of Google Play recharge on Paytm and FreeCharge have a significant impact on Indian game revenues?
Ankush Madad Co-Founder and Creative Head Dropout Games

Digital wallets is as easy as it can get when it comes to online payment here in India.

The trends we saw in 2016 including demonetisation, an increase in digital payments for various services, India's rise to the number one spot for app downloads, combined with this addition of wallets definitely signals towards a rise in revenues.

Laxmi Desai-Khanolkar CEO and co-founder Apar Games

Currently, India is learning to pay digitally. It is taking the baby steps towards the new goal - Digital India.

So in the long run, it will have a positive impact on game revenue. The ratio of paying Indian gamers to total Indian gamers is very low currently.

Paytm and Freecharge may ease out the process of paying and take this percentage up by a few points.

Joel Johnson DigiKhel

Given that the only way to purchase credit on Google earlier was physical cards of fixed value starting at Rs. 750, this is a very welcome move.

The predominant request related to purchase has been about enabling this through Paytm.
Joel Johnson

Through Paytm, the minimum purchase is now Rs. 100. If we look at the top grossing games in India, the predominant request related to purchase has been about enabling this through Paytm.

It's good to know that such requests have finally been heeded, but it's unfortunate that wallets don't come up as an option at the instant when an (in-app) purchase is attempted (like carrier billing and net banking is listed).

Hopefully, this is just a temporary friction point which Google supports better going forward.

I expect that this will result in a double-digit percentage increase in revenue from India, but more importantly a one to three times increase in conversions.

Shailesh Prabhu Founder Yellow Monkey Studios

Shailesh Prabhu is an Indie Game Designer from India who has been designing games for over ten years. Seven years ago he founded Yellow Monkey Studios and is the recipient of numerous game design and entrepreneurship awards around the world. Socioball, HUEBRIX, It’s Just a Thought are some of his recent games. Shailesh is also an excellent cook, loves playing tennis, gardening and DIY projects apart from sporting facial hair.

I find the unending, vague predictions of growth tired and highly uninspiring. I think whatever it will do will be single digit at best - i.e. not from 10% to 99%! 

I think the recent wave of Paytm success has largely been due to demonetisation and it's easy to get swept up in the hoo-ha much like the industry in India loves to.

Demonetisation sparked Paytm's success

While it's still great that Google Play allows this, the friction of usage in Paytm arising from having to refill your wallet is still pretty high.

What will be really interesting is if and/or when UPI-based payment systems take hold and allow mobile payments directly from your bank accounts. However, I am not sure if that will apply to merchant payments.

Joel Johnson DigiKhel

Early observations from a couple of top grossing games are already showing low double-digit percentage growth in revenue from India.

It should be interesting to see how far this can go, since Google Play is also now educating its players about recharge through wallets.

Hopefully, this will result in greater growth (especially in paid user conversions), the sooner Google shows wallets as an option in their payment modes.

Shailesh Prabhu Founder Yellow Monkey Studios

Shailesh Prabhu is an Indie Game Designer from India who has been designing games for over ten years. Seven years ago he founded Yellow Monkey Studios and is the recipient of numerous game design and entrepreneurship awards around the world. Socioball, HUEBRIX, It’s Just a Thought are some of his recent games. Shailesh is also an excellent cook, loves playing tennis, gardening and DIY projects apart from sporting facial hair.

I have contrary findings from the top games in India that it has had not much effect at all.

Srinivasan Veeraraghavan Co-founder Roosh Interactive

I feel apart from buying phones online (and only then with very, very good deals), we as a country are still not acustomed to buying digitally.

The majority of Indian consumers love free stuff, we love our ads - our televised content has more ads than content!

Hence, it is difficult to presume the impact of new payment mechanisms will have a major impact on Indian game revenues.

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for PocketGamer.biz, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.

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