Quentin Staes Polet, Co Founder & CEO, Kreeda Games India, believes India is ready for microtransactions. Kreeda was launched in 2006 and received $2.5 million in funding from IDG Ventures India and SoftBank China in 2007. It launched India’s first MMOG (massively multi-player online game) Dance Mela. However, Kreeda made the decision to begin signing outsourcing contracts last year end and now performs conceptualisation, development and programming of games as well as designing online marketing campaigns and advergames, according to GamingXpress.
So is the company out of the game development scene? Polet told MediaNama that they’re still working on their publishing business, and are releasing a game soon. “Since there is not enough population and spend, we are engaging in services to grow the business and get good revenue. For us, after all, that’s the game,” said Polet.
On Dance Mela & Challenges
Dance Mela, when it first launched, caught the fancy of many because it offered an interesting combination of Bollywood and dancing. We asked Polet for his key learnings from the Dance Mela experience in Indiaand the candid response was, “Learnings were very expensive, I can’t share them. That’s giving you everything the investor paid for.”
So we thought we’d take a look at what we perceive as the challenges that Dance Mela may have faced:
— Low number of broadband users: We have 7 million broadband users and 14 million Internet users in all (inclusive of dial-up users) – too small a base for an MMOG.
— Wrong Delivery: Users can only play Dance Mela by installing the game on their PC. This is cumbersome, and requires either a large download or CD distribution. Browser based games like Travian and Ikarium or Wanted by Zapak have avoided this issue.
— Timing: Polet told Gaming Xpress he thought the game was a little ahead of its time. He plans to keep the game’s community alive and widen the base to more demographics, waiting for the market to evolve. Kreeda might then launch Dance Mela 2.
— Concept: Dance Mela was not designed for the core gaming population, which in India is typically a 16-24 year old male.
— Monetization: We don’t think India is quite ready for microtransactions that are used to buy Avatars, clothes and accessories that a game like Dance Mela, given the low propensity to pay online, or the inadequacies of payment mechanisms. Polet, however, disagrees: “When it comes to billing and access to e-payments, there is enough in place and more being added everyday. India is ready today for microtransactions. Indian customers are not different from others. Infrastructure, network and habits are different. But if the pricing is done properly, and if you can reach a community, there is no indication that Indians are less likely to pay.”
Models For Monetisation
He said, if one talks of download and pay for a game, like Zapak is doing, it does not work as the pricing is not “adapted”. There are four different models for monetisation:
- Pay and download
- Subscription – you pay for every amount of time you spend on the game – per hour, per week, etc
- Free to play with microtransactions – you motivate users to transact within the game, if they want to progress then they have to pay and the fourth is
- Advertising within games.
“Subscription and free to play with microtransactions will work. And advertising, though it has not started yet to generate big revenues, has huge potential. The medium is very efficient. For example, for the same amount of time a brand is on TV and in the game, the user is four times more likely to remember the brand after the game,” said Polet.
So why has in-game advertising not taken off as yet? Polet answers, “Ad agencies and advertisers are slow to adopt technology. Advertising on the net existed for 15 yrs, but only in last 2-3 yrs, are they putting in 5% of their budget on it.”
Clients, Mobile Gaming
In December, Kreeda will be releasing a medium sized project and plans to release an international MMOG in January. It will follow in April with 2 more MMOGs. It has no Indian clients so far. When asked if mobile gaming was in the works, Polet told Medianma that it might be an option in the future, “because convergence is happening with netbooks and smartphones.”