Bollywood is a ubiquitous phenomenon in capturing mind and media space like nothing else in India. It’s also on your mobile phones in the form of ringtones, caller back tones, wallpapers and the like. Yet the most engaging and probably relevant form of Bollywood on your handset is a mobile game.
Mobile games based on Bollywood films, of which there have been several in the recent past, provide the consumer a peek into the upcoming film’s storyline and an easy gaming experience. And it means business for the game developers, mobile operators and the film producers alike.
However, film-based games only constitute a meager percentage of the total mobile games developed by a company, owing to profit sharing disputes with operators and film producers’ demand of exorbitant minimum guarantees (MG). Most mobile game company executives will not go on record on the operator-developer dispute, but the fact remains that it has been a reality for years.
In an attempt to provide a platform to address these issues, the NASSCOM Animation & Gaming Summit, Hyderabad, held a panel discussion on ‘Gaming: Publishing Indian content’. The panel included Indiagames’ Samir Bangara, Gameshastra’s Prakash Ahuja and Sony Computer’s Shahid Ahmed.
Indiagames’ Ghajini mobile game is cited as a success story when it comes to film based mobile applications. The company started work 15 months before the film’s release, and had sittings with Aamir Khan and his gym instructor. By the time of the release it was ready with different games and even a gym application, all of which clocked half a million downloads.
Samir told Bollywood Hungama, said, ”A mobile game, which takes between one to six months to develop, extends the experience of a movie and teases the audience. After you see the movie, you might even appreciate the game a little bit more.” He further agreed that mobile games, right now, have little to offer to the producer besides a pittance and some publicity. ”In value terms it does not make sense for the producer, and for the developers it’s win some and lose some. We make positive ROI in most cases, 60% of the portfolio takes care of the rest of the duds.”
The company has recently released a game on Wake Up Sid, and is working on forthcoming films including Rann, Paan Singh Tomar and others.
”Bollywood is the bell weather of the Indian people, it reflects what people want. If game developers can borrow from that, there is a whole world out there…” Seems like consumers can expect a lot more Bollywood gaming on their mobile phones in the days to come.