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What’s the Big !DEA? Gameloft Partnering up with the Indian Telecom

by Adam Thorwart | 3月 11, 2014

The partnership with Idea Cellular will grant over 130 million users access to Gameloft’s game portfolio.

Gameloft is coming off a full year in which it increased mobile gaming revenue each quarter – one of two companies highlighted by Strategy Analytics’ Mobile Gaming Index to accomplish this feat. However, the 2013 “storyline of the year” in mobile gaming was stolen by the incredible resurgence of Glu who credited its revenue boom to the entry into the APAC region including an announcement in Q4 that it will cross-publish titles in 2014 with COLOPL – a Japanese mobile gaming studio.

Which begs the question is the Gameloft+Idea Cellular partnership just simply a user grab or is India being targeted specifically?

The answer is yes on both accounts. First, an increase in user numbers is always desirable. Secondly, in order to continue success Gameloft will need to reinforce its position among established markets as well as enter new market. Although India’s population doesn’t possess the same “gaming motivated” reputation that other APAC markets (i.e. Korea and Japan) do, it does have a prior connection to Gameloft. India was first a focus for Gameloft in late 2009 when the mobile gaming giant targeted SE Asia and the regions, then, 898 million mobile phone users. In fact, in November of 2009 these two companies (Gameloft and Idea) entered an agreement that provided the gateway for Gameloft to showcase its gaming portfolio in India.

Fast forwarding to 1H 2013, Gameloft began re-establishing its dominance in India as it dedicated approximately $1.5 million “to the restructuring of Gameloft’s development studios in India and the Philippines.” Clearly the renewed partnership with Idea is the second step for Gameloft. Per this partnership, Idea becomes the first Indian telecom to provide users access to the Gameloft Game Store including access to new content made available via a Gameloft Club subscription. The Gameloft Club is an important feature in areas with low credit card usage/penetration because the $6.99/month subscription fee is applied to a user’s phone bill. As a part of the subscription, users are given 2 credits a month to download any paid game (each game download = 1 credit). Considering most (if not all) Gameloft paid games are listed at $5.99, The Gameloft Club subscription model makes sense as long as users continues to want paid games which is becoming less and less likely – in 2013 paid games only accounted for 20% of revenue for Gameloft.

Despite the fact that the Gameloft+Idea and Glu+COLOPL are different partnerships in structure, it is very evident that both Gameloft and Glu are using the correct approach to the market. Simply entering the competitive APAC market on their own accord would likely prove to be a fruitless activity. Even with assistance from local players it will be tough to grab any real share from local favorites like Gamevil.

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