EA Games will now be available on Indiagames’ Games on Demand (GoD) subscription service, giving GoD subscribers access to PC games like FIFA 07, Need For Speed Underground, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Battlefield 2, NBA Live 07, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Cricket 07 and The Sims 2, among others.
While Indiagames, a UTV company, has had Popcap, Microsoft, Eidos and Atari, among others, as publishers, EA is clearly the largest game publisher: it is estimated that EA has 60% of Indias gaming market. Games on Demand currently has over 35,000 paying subscribers, and Vishal Gondal, CEO of Indiagames told us that with EA on board, he expects a substantial increase in signups. Already, EAs Need For Speed Most Wanted is the second most played game, in terms of minutes, on GoD.
What About New Games? Plans For Launching Full Game Download Service
Gondal disagrees, saying “We will be launching FIFA 2008 soon. When we launched the latest Tomb Raider game, there was very little demand for it. The top 7 games on Games on Demand do not require a graphics card. Most of our customers are not from Metro cities, and it’s fair to assume that most of them do not have high end PCs, and will not be able to support the latest games. Popcap remains our biggest publisher, with casual games.”
“At the same time, we are working on launching a full game download service – offering the latest games as additional paid downloads. Older releases will become a part of the GoD package, and the latest you can download and buy. For Rs. 199, it would be tougher to offer new games, because the game is also being sold in the market. We have already tested the download to buy model, and users from Metro cities are interested in this model. The good thing about this is that we will have the ability to offer these games on the day of the global launch.”
Competition From Hungama’s On-Demand Service?
Indiagames’ Games on Demand service has remained uncontested for a while now – but Hungama recently soft-launched their on-demand content service on BSNL. They’re chargin Rs. 49 for access to mostly casual, flash based games. Now if Hungama also ties up with large game publishers and goes beyond casual games, we might be in for a battle for new consumers – hopefully fueled by the battle for licensing latest gaming content.
How Games On Demand Works
Now the way the subscription service works is as follows: users tie up for GoD via their ISP, or from a cybercafe that is a part of the plan, and get access to over 200 games. They can download and run these games legally, and yet not be charged for the bandwidth that is consumed by the service. Indiagames offers this service via telcos like BSNL, MTNL, You Telecom, Airtel, and Tata Indicom. The service still isn’t available for MTNL Delhi subscribers, so I haven’t been able to try it out. Last year, Indiagames had released some statistics on usage of content on GoD.
We were curious about how much of the Games on Demand usage comes from Cybercafes. Gondal says that the usage is limited, and has been declining, in line with the decline of cybercafes in India. There are essentially two models in operation today – the Western model wherein games are sold to home users, and the Eastern model that is operational in China and Korea, wherein gaming is seen as more of a social activity, and the focus is on cybercafe usage. Gondal believes that the Indian market is going down the same path as the Western countries.
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