Nazara Technologies has inked an exclusive tie-up with gaming major Electronic Arts for India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh: the deal gives Nazara the rights to distribute the EA Mobile catalog to carriers, third party channels, aggregators, retail channels and local OEMs in the three countries. The terms of the deal, whether based on a big fat minimum guarantee or just a simple revenue share, have not been disclosed; neither has the length of the deal. EA content was previously being distributed off-deck by UTV owned Indiagames; Nazara, in its announcement, has laid claim to holding 40% marketshare in India, serving 200,000 game downloads a day.
Our take is that Electronic Arts’ premium catalogue is likely to be used by Nazara to open doors: enter new markets and ink new telecom operator relationships to expand its distribution, not just for EA content, but it’s existing catalog as well. The EA Mobile catalog includes Tetris, Bejeweled, The Sims, Need For Speed, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Madden NFL Football, FIFA Soccer and NASCAR.
Nazara has partnerships with Airtel, Spice, Idea, Vodafone, BPL, Tata Indicom, Reliance Communications and Spice Digital. It also develops content related to Sanjay B Jummani (numerologist), Virender Sehwag, Archie Comics, GM Viswanathan Anand among others.
In a prepared statement, Nazara CEO Nitish Mittersain suggests that the EA Mobile catalog of games will “put mobile gaming at the forefront of 3G content consumption”; we think that is wishful thinking, but perhaps the Sri Lankan market, where 3G services are already live, will be the test of that.
Mobile gaming in India has always been characterized by excessive hype, like location based services; I feel that the mobile gaming market in India has been diluted by large number of games focusing on brands, not game-play; that shouldn’t be an issue with EA games.