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"IAPs in India are going to be tough nut to crack"

What stands between India and $1.1 billion?

Getting more Indian mobile gamers to spend on in-app purchases continues to be a tough nut to crack, says Nazara Games CEO Manish Agarwal.

Agarwal made the comment during a lively debate with other leading Indian game developers in the latest Indian Mavens feature, who all shared their thoughts on App Annie's projection that the country's mobile gaming revenues will reach $1.1 billion by 2020.

"I believe the IAP-based model in India is going to be tough nut to crack and will need a new business model tailor-made for Indian consumer habits," he said.

Agarwal explained that Indian users' intent to spend remains the "Joker in the pack" that will make App Annie's forecast a difficult one to fulfil.

Bringing the stats

Reasons to be cheerful came from Rituraj Behera, who comperehensively detailed how proven advancements in India's infrastructure, smartphone quality and affordability, and overall economy should remove many of the barriers to generating revenue from mobile games in the coming years.

"Smartphone adoption is on the rise and expected to increase from 260 million to 600 million by 2020," he observed. "Also, 85% of our population is below the age of 44, perfect for gamers."

However, Amit Goyal noted an arresting statistic pertaining to the the country's distribution of wealth that shows things in a rather different light.

"The percentage of wealth controlled by the top 1% population in India is 58.4% of the total wealth of the country," he said.

"If you want to look at the “billion strong” market, then you also must look at how many of the billion are even capable of splurging on games."

Real-world impact

Meanwhile, Hrishi Oberoi argued that even if the Indian mobile games market were to hit $1.1 billion by 2020, the effect on the average local developer would be minimal.

"In 2020, even if the market hits $1.1 billion, India will still not be amongst the top 20 mobile gaming markets worldwide," he said.

"And even then, it would just make up 0.5% of the global market.

"The bottom line is, if you are making $50 from India now, you will only make $200 from India by 2020 - so no major shift."

You can read the full discussion here.