With its smartphone adoption predicted to be 300 million by the end of 2015, India is being touted as the next huge mobile games market to emerge.
That's great news for Reliance Games.
The Indian company has already demonstrated it can break games such as its Real Steel franchise globally. And now it's looking to make the most of domestic growth, including helping the maturing of the local development scene - something it kickstarted with its Game Hack and the Pocket Gamer Connects conference held in Bangalore in April 2015.
We spoke to new CEO Amit Khanduja about his role and how he hopes to shape the company's future growth.
PocketGamer.biz: Reliance has proven itself to be one of the torch bearers of the Indian games development industry. How are you going to continue that legacy?
Amit Khanduja: At Reliance Games, we have some amazing talent who continue to innovate, lead and most importantly adapt to the ever changing industry.
The past few years have been a great success for Reliance Games in the action genre and we will continue to lead in the brawler category.
Leveraging our success in F2P, we are expanding into 3 new genres this year globally and announcing our renewed focus on the Indian marketplace.
Are there any lessons you learned as COO which you will take into your position as CEO?
There are three big learnings:
- This is a fast paced ever-changing marketplace, which forces to you to innovate and improve continuously.
- The deep relationships within the mobile gaming ecosystem keep you honest and help your learn and introspect for the future.
- Third, and most important, is the team. We have one of the best teams in the industry which has enabled us to grow quickly.
What is a CEO's most important role, and how will you fulfill it?
Games now live for multiple years and with analysis, refinement and investment, they have the potential to be bigger than movie blockbusters.
One of the key objectives is that entertainment needs to blend with the consumer experience for long-term success. We aspire to have over 100 million downloads from our games this year and we have already made a strong start in that direction. Once the team believes in the longer term vision you just need to enable them to fulfill it.
We aspire to have over 100 million downloads from our games this year and we have already made a strong start.Amit Khanduja
Focus is also vital for the CEO. We need to answer the two-part question, what business we are in and what business we are not in?
Finally, the CEO shape the values and standards of the organization. We are a gaming company and the most important part is having fun. We will continue to strive as team and employees continue to have fun.
What are the challenges of being an Indian gaming business?
The dynamic nature of this business means you need to keep pivoting, failing fast and learning quickly. That also makes each day ever more exciting and fulfilling. While we are headquartered in India, our consumers are global, so we need to address global consumer mindsets.
We are regionalising our game experience for the global audience and also providing unique game features for consumers who want to engage with the game longer. We are creating compelling and personalized experiences based on player behavior with content that appeals to different segments.
Also, as part of the transition we have announced a renewed focus on the Indian market and a new market expansion strategy to gain share in a burgeoning domestic market.
India is the next big frontier and we believe we have a headstart in bringing the global learnings to the market here. We will be doubling our focus on this market and are in the midst of new initiatives that will put us on a firm footing.
Where is India's games scene headed in the next 12 months?
The market is expanding quite rapidly with 20+ million smartphones being added monthly and gaming is becoming one of the key components in cricket frenzy and Bollywood world.
The Indian market is at inflection point and we will see market expand exponentially in next 12 months. First we will see downloads and engagements and hopefully within a short timeframe, micro-transaction and potentially carrier billing will bring monetisation for the developers.
Are you seeing any trends in the Indian development landscape at the moment?
We are seeing more global games being downloaded and played today in India. Local casino games are starting to make money and getting great engagements.
The market is going to expand to casual and racing category very quickly but these games would need to be less than 25 MB and provide byte size game play.
Keeping these aspects in mind, Reliance Games is launching a new game called T20 CPL 15 where we are bringing cricket and match-3 simplicity for our Indian consumers.
What are you most excited about for your new role?
This is a transformational year for us. We are going from launching 2-3 games a year to 10 game launches in 2015.
We are expanding our reach with new markets and new genres.