Nazara Games, the Mumbai-based publisher dedicated to serving the local Indian market, may have turned a few heads by investing in two London-based companies in quick succession.
However, this isn't a case of Nazara abandoning its faith in the potential of the mobile games market in India; rather, it's casting its net wider to find developers whose work happens to be aligned with the interests of the Indian consumer.
To get a fuller explanation of Nazara's investment strategy, PocketGamer.biz reached out to CEO Manish Agarwal.
PocketGamer.biz: Why do you feel 2016 is the right time for Nazara to focus on investing in third-party developers?
Manish Agarwal: We believe that the Indian mobile gaming market is going to explode because of all macro indicators favouring the downloading of games.
Nazara as a publisher is committed to bringing quality, relevant, and innovative game genres to millions of mobile gamers.
We believe that the Indian mobile gaming market is going to explode.Manish Agarwal
And since mobile game monetisation is still in a nascent stage, Nazara is working with developers as investor and publisher to ensure that good teams and great ideas don’t lose out while Indian consumers start forming habits of IAPs and last mile micropayment infrastructure becomes ready to enable them.
Nazara has previously been focused on games by Indians for Indians, so how does your investment in the London-based TrulySocial fit into this strategy?
Facebook is the biggest social community in India and 55% of the audience are female. We also believe that time spent per female visitor would be higher on Facebook versus male demographics.
TrulySocial is working on a narrative-based, highly immersive and social lifestyle themed reality game, which we believe will be an instant hit with an online audience of Indian women. The tone of conversation and content in the game will be highly cultured with Indian sensibilities.
It's a very new, but highly addictive genre, and given that the smartphone is the entertainment window to the world for most of the female audience in India, this game will appeal to them.
What sets Mastermind Sports' CricBet apart from the standard sports betting apps? Do you think there's a future for betting with virtual currency in areas where real-money gambling is restricted?
We believe that the second-screen experience will change the way sport is watched in India.
Given that every cricket fan in India believes they have a deep understanding of the game, a real-time social prediction platform is the best way to enhance the experience for millions of die-hard cricket fans in India.
Nazara is always looking for great teams with great ideas and proof of concept.Manish Agarwal
This is a great example of gamification through a second-screen app, wherein players are fighting for the badges and respect amongst their friends, as well as globally leading to fully developed freemium model inside the game.
Can we expect more investments from Nazara in 2016, and if so, what sort of companies are attractive?
Nazara is always looking for great teams with great ideas and proof of concept.
Nazara is keen to meet like-minded people focused on emerging markets and to provide clean entertainment via gaming to millions of current and potential gamers, combining our strong consumer insights and local distribution with the strong game design and tech platform capabilities of their own.