The third article in our Top 10 games series takes us to India, the land of spices, hilarious TV soap operas and some seriously good games. The Indian mobile game market is both amazing and intimidating at the same time – with 1.2 billion people it has become one of the fastest-growing mobile game markets and an important destination for developers.
Just how big of a market India really is, and how fast is it growing? Let’s look at some numbers, first.
According to eMarketer, a well-respected market analyst firm, in 2016 India will become the second largest market in terms of smartphones, with more than 200 million devices.
Chartboost has an interesting graph on the increase in game sessions year-on-year (Y-o-Y), which shows that out of 18 total categories viewed, 10 have had more than 300 percent Y-o-Y increase, with RPG games skyrocketing 2360 percent. Pretty much every genre has had a significant increase.
Gamesindustry claims that the Indian mobile games market is currently worth $853.9 million, and that the market accounts for half of the total game market in the country. The same report also adds the numbers will double by 2018, and that Indian gamers have spent more than $36 million on mobile games in October 2015.
So how do Indian developers adapt to the market? By placing games Indians want to play, and according to our little research, based on the number of downloads, overall rating and various media coverage, it seems that Indians mostly enjoy playing gambling games and – cricket.
Here’s the list:
Developer: Red Monster Games
Red Monster Games is a mobile social gaming company building games focused on the India market. Starting with casino games, it plans to expand into other genres of social gaming, including original IP-led games. It’s founders bring expertise in building and running social games from organizations like Zynga.
About the game: Real Teen Patti is a multiplayer card game also known as Indian Poker. Unlike Poker or Texas hold’em Poker, players are dealt three cards, and the game lacks any community cards. Player with the strongest hand wins the pot.
Developer: Moonfrog Labs
Moonfrog Labs is a Bangalore-based startup which makes mobile games exclusively for the Indian market. The startup was founded in 2013 by a team of developers who previously worked for Zynga on titles including Mafia Wars, Bubble Safari, Castleville, and Empires & Allies.
About the game: Teen Patti Gold follows the same principle as Real Teen Patti – a three-card game of Poker. In the game, however, there is no real money involved, and “real” prizes cannot be won.
Games2win is one of the top 20 online gaming Online gaming businesses in the world as per Comscore. The company Games2win India Pvt. Ltd. was co-founded by serial entrepreneur Alok Kejriwal and Mahesh Khambadkone, a gaming technocrat. The company is headquartered in Mumbai, India.
About the game: Parking Frenzy 2.0 is a genre of its own – games which challenge players to park their virtual cars in a fast and accurate manner, all while avoiding various obstacles. The game has more than 200 levels and features 16 different cars.
99Games is an indie studio located in Karnataka, India. The studio develops and publishes mobile games, and currently has over 15 game titles, 20 million downloads and many global awards.
About the game: Dhoom:3 The Game is a 3D bike racer built around the popular Dhoom film franchise. It has more than 15 million downloads across different platforms, and has won several awards. Players will have to navigate the digital avatar of Aamir Khan (Sahir), who is being chased by Abhishek Bachchan(Jai), Uday Chopra (Ali) and Chicago police in a high-stake race through the busy streets of Chicago.
Nazara Games is a mobile games development studio founded in 2000. It creates games for the markets of India, Middle East, Africa, The Caribbean & Latin America. Interesingly enough, Nazara Technologies also holds exclusive rights for EA Mobile Games in the Middle East & Africa.
About the game: Chhota Bheem Jungle Run is a very popular game in India, thanks to the favorite superhero character kids in the country adore. In the game, the main character Chhota Bheem is far away from Dholakpur and the road back to the village is through a dense jungle, filled with obstacles and weird creatures.
Developer: Nautilus Mobile
Nautilus Mobile is a mobile game development studio based in Hyderabad, India. It comprises of all former Gameloft employees. Its game Song of Swords has won People’s Choice Indie Game of the Year award in 2013.
About the game: Real Cricket 14 is a cricket simulation game for mobile phones and tablets. The game provides with Diverse modes, Exhibition, Tournaments such as T20 World Cup, Masters Cup and Knockout Cup.
Developer: GSN Games
GNS Games is a successful Indian game development studio, which has two top 10 grossing iPad apps and nine offices around the world. GSN Games is part of GSN, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and DIRECTV.
About the game: The GSN Casino – Free Slots is a casino simulation game, offering various gambling games you usually see in a casino. Those include slots, bingo, video poker, Blackjack and the Wheel of fortune. Similar to other gambling games, this one also does not work with real money.
Genre: Card game
About the game: This card game offers a tropical solitaire arena of over 600 new levels and islands. The goal of the game is to navigate islands and speed through hundreds of solitaire card game levels.
About the game: Bingo Bash is a bingo-style game featuring traditional Indian music. The game features 350+ levels, 50+ ways to play, and new bingo rooms added every two weeks. Just like other gambling games, this one also does not allow gambling with real money.
The game development studio Octro calls itself “one of the fastest growing mobile gaming companies around”. It was formed in 2006 and is headquartered in Delhi. In 2014 it was announced that Sequoia Capital decided to invest in Octro.
Genre: Card game
About the game: Teen Patti – Indian Poker is one of the most played mobile game in India across different age groups. With more than 10 million downloads on Android alone, it is one of the most downloaded mobile games in India.
There are two games which have unfortunately not made the list, mostly because of low download counts and average scores. However, being indie games which have both won valuable awards for their studios, I have decided to include them as honorable mentions.
Developer: underDOGS Gaming Studio
underDOGS Gaming Studio is based in Mumbai, and was founded by a former Games2win employee Vaibhav Chavan.
Genre: Endless running
About the game: Skatelander is an endless arcade skateboarding game developed by underDOGS Gaming for iOS. The game was recently reviewed on the SOOMLA blog, so make sure you check out our review.
Developer: ReFocus Tech
Even though the studio created one of the most praised games of 2014, it didn’t help it to survive – as of recently, the studio transformed into a digital creatives studio called Little Boat Studios. The firm has switched from building mobile games to designing and building products, creating campaigns, developing applications and platforms to connect businesses to customers.
About the game: Hues is puzzle card game. By merging cards of the same color (hue), you earn points and unlock more hues. The objective is simple: To score as much as you can by merging more and more cards, called as “Hues.” As you unlock higher ranked “Hues,” the game adapts.