Online games are a big market and a successful business model, says industry-insider Manish Agarwal

The trend of online gaming picked up roughly around 2004-2005 as a result of Internet growth. First the e-mail service revolutionised the world and then came the search engine followed by social networking. In that order, gaming was the next thing to happen.

The factors that helped online gaming grow were: a majority of Internet users were youngsters, increased interaction with the western world, the access “whenever-whatever-wherever” nature of online games and the proven success of online gaming as a viable business model by some Asian countries. The advantage of online gaming as a business comes from the fact that the time spent by the user in a gaming site is more.

Zapak.com attracts up to 200,000unique users a day across PC and mobiles, with the 2000 free web games and 500 free mobile games. Most users are in the age bracket of 13 to 25 years. Further dissecting the user profile, about 75 per cent are male. This is a reflection of Internet usage itself, not just online gaming. As far as gaming is concerned, in the West, the ratio of men:women stands at 55:45.

In India too there is a large growth in the female audience but the types of games they play are different. It is usually non-collaborative and non-action games.

The need to showcase and share one’s success, prompted by social networking sites, has rubbed off on gaming too. Games in social networking sites like Facebook are the biggest thing to happen to the online gaming industry. Social gaming has given a new flip to casual gaming.

Coming to the quality of graphics and gameplay, one needs to understand that most online gamers are casual; they play a game and move on. Serious gamers are more engaged and controlled.

Most online games are free or are inexpensive. So, accordingly, the investment in developing such games is less. But with the advent of smartphones and tablets, that are getting smarter and more powerful, game development studios are giving more importance to the quality and design now.

Manish Agarwal is the CEO of Reliance Entertainment Digital, the parent company of Zapak and Jump Games.

Keywords: online games

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