TheMobileGamer creates mobile social games like Monster Fight, Club Wars, Captain Pirate etc, that run on mig33, Kotagames.com and Mozat, and target the South East Asian market. t monetizes using social virtual currency. Speaking with MediaNama, One97 MD Vijay Shekhar Sharma said that TMG has a half a million subscribers and a game engine to launch more properties. Founded by Alvin Yap, TMG is profitable, and had previously raised around Singapore$ 500,000 from Innosight Ventures.
While this is an investment from the One97 Mobility Fund, has a strategic angle to it: Sharma says that he believes in the Mobile Internet scenario (remember that One97 has so far primarily been focused on the telecom operator business), and is of the opinion that mobile gaming will be one of the paid content strategies going forward. “TMG focuses on the Mobile Internet, which is compelling in India and South East Asia. We were looking for companies in mobile gaming, and didn’t find many original publishers in India. Most of gaming in India is either Internet or console gaming, on the mobile front, companies are distributing games from international players.”
“It was a compelling fit for us. Alvin (Yap) has been a tremendous entrepreneur himself; he did a Try and Buy app in a Java environment earlier, and then grew it towards a gaming side. TMG is addressing Indonesia, which is a couple of quarters ahead of India, and going through similar flux,” he says, adding that “This is a strategic investment – we expect forward looking business in this direction, and as a contribution, we look at helping TMG with more than money, by helping with distribution, expanding market base, and opening the Indian market for the company.”
Previously, One97 had tied up with WebChutney for mobile app based games (which, incidentally, should have been launched by now). Sharma says that this deal doesn’t impact the one with Webchutney: “We’re a producer there (with Webchutney) and they’re creating games for us. In the long term we’re planning a bigger game foray, but currently we’re trying to find which is the best place for us to be in the value chain.”
But what about apps versus the mobile Internet – isn’t gaming (if you take Angry Birds as a standard example) primarily app based on smart phones? Sharma says that they will look at addressing both sets of customers. “With TMG, we get feature phone gaming that is live and social, and also smart phone HTML5 based gaming. With Webchutney, we will do apps. The intention is to learn, and I believe there will be an audience for both.”
It has also invested in Scotland based mobile broadband customer service provider Ciqual.
Disclosure: One97 Communications is an advertiser with MediaNama