Mobile games company Nazara Technologies has created a Rs 5 crore seed fund for game development companies in India. The company is also expecting other early stage investors to co-invest with it to raise the size of the fund to Rs 20 crore. Nazara CEO and Founder Nitish Mittersain said that initially it will focus on Indian studios that are attacking the global market and at those developing India specific content. The company is looking at people who have just started making a game or are in the process of developing a game and those who have already launched on app store, but need more support in terms of scaling it up.
The seed fund will pump in 25-50 lakh to game development companies, giving them enough funds to start work on their second game after finishing one. Mittersain said that the average cost of developing a mobile game in India ranges from Rs 5 lakh – 25 lakh and Rs 10 lakh on an average. Apart financing the game development the company will also see to it that these developers have access to an advisory board that will include people from gaming industry from India and abroad.
The seed fund will fund both free-to-play and paid games, but will prefer the freemium model that uses in-app purchases to monetise. “We already work with a lot of ad networks and have our own ad mediation platform which will also be offered to the developers. Using this they they can quickly optimise their ad revenues. They can also include a simple API in their games and to pull ads from large number of sources. We also offer value added services such as support for carrier billing support and will even publish these games in app stores and that of mobile phone carriers across India and MENA region,” Mittersain says and insists that it is not mandatory for developers to use any of these services, but are available for developers who find value in it. In case of carrier billing, Nazara will give 70% of the earnings after the operators have taken their cut to the developers.
Earlier this year, Japanese game developer, publisher and distributor Square Enix had set up a base in India and had run a contest to find developers with good ideas. They have been working with around 10 studios and a few of them had been dropped in the process since. The first game made by an Indian developer and published by Square Enix is expected in 2014. The company has said that it is looking at developers making localised games in the free to play category in India.
On monetising games: Games have better ARPU in Middle-East but the volumes are in India. Here, ARPU is around Rs 40-60, but in other countries it’s almost three times that. This data is based on sale of games and in-game items for Android and Java platforms.
On business in MENA region: Nazara’s business in this region has been growing fast according to Mittersain and is the equivalent of 60% of its India revenue. The company is expanding their operations in Bahrain and are putting dedicated people to manage account with Batelco. It has also expanded business to many countries in the region including UAE, Saudi Arabia (where it has tied-up with all three carriers), Kuwait and even Iraq.