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With 300 million smartphones expected by the end of 2015, now is the time to enter India

With 300 million smartphones expected by the end of 2015, now is the time to enter India

The last six months has seen a major turnaround in the Indian market, according to Amit Khanduja, CEO of Reliance Entertainment - Digital.

"There are so many moving parts," Khanduja said, referring to what he calls the "Indian mobile circus."

With 25 million handsets sold each month, the market is growing - rapidly.

According to Khanduja, there are 115 million handsets in the country right now - mainly Android, but Nokia also remains a strong brand - and that number is expected to grow to 300 million by the end of 2015.

Mobile-first

Part of the potential in this market lies in the fact that in India, people connect to the internet through phones and tablets significantly more than laptops.

This is mostly due to affordability. The hottest selling device in India now right now, according to Khanduja, is the discounted iPhone 4S, which goes for $199.

But the market's financial limitations and other restraints is partially why the prospect of making money there as a mobile developer is still tough.

For one, there's a general reluctance to spend money on games in India, explained Khanduja, and even if people did want to spend, an extremely small percentage of Indians own credit cards.

This, coupled with the fact that most credit card owners in India are wary about online payment methods, means a very small number of smartphone gamers in India can or will pay for games.

Most people don't want to spend 10% or 15% of their daily average income on buying a game.
Amit Khanduja

On top of that, the minimum IAP value on Google Play is simply too high for a chunk of the population.

"Most people don't want to spend 10% or 15% of their daily average income on buying a game," said Khanduja.

Local factors

Yet there are ways to get around all this and break into the market.

"Get advertising in your apps, multiple payment options, micro-transactions down to 5 to 10 cents," Khanduja said. Subscription models also do well.

As to what types of games sell the most in India, racing, runners, gambling, and strategy lead the way in terms of genre.

For leading IP, "Cricket and movie themes are really big," said Khanduja, pointing to the success of Bollywood and Indian cartoons.

More generally, localization is hugely important.

There are 20 major languages spoken in India. Of those, 425 million speak Hindi and only 125 million speak English. Most top Hollywood movies in India tend to release in 4-5 major Indian languages if they want to reach the masses.

So there are plenty of hurdles for those looking to break into the market, but Khanduja is optimistic about its potential.

"What happened in China 4-5 years ago is what is happening in the Indian market now," he said. "Opportunity is among us. Start thinking about [India]."


Staff Writer

Chloi games, and Chloi writes, and at some point she made the dangerous decision of merging the two. Now she spends her time formulating words about weird games she finds, playing Dark Souls, and also playing Dark Souls.

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