Bangalore-based Dhruva Interactive has set up an incubator called Gametantra targeting mobile game developers and it will offer space and mentorship in return for a 3-7% stake. It has space for 7-8 startups and has already received 12-13 applications from developers interested in the six-month long incubation program according to Rajesh Rao, Founder and CEO of Dhruva.
The company has been planning to start a fund/incubator to encourage upcoming game developers for a while, but it was delayed as most of the resources went to the parent company itself, which was growing rapidly. “Recently someone told us that developers need mentoring more than money so we decided to spruce up our old office which is now being used only for administrative purposes for incubating these companies,” Rao says. It needs to be noted that Gametantra was started as the casual games arm of Dhruva a few years back.
The company has listed Samir Bangara (ex-COO of Indiagames), Gregg Barnett (Creative Director at Dhruva), Nick Martinelli (Studio Art Director at Dhruva), Vlad Micu (gaming consultant) and Raju Patil (Studio head at Dhruva) as mentors on its website. Rao says that they will also rope in indie developers who have made a name for themselves in the industry to mentor new companies. Some Dhruva staff will also help with administrative work that would otherwise distract them from developing games such as accounting and paper work.
Dhruva is also trying to set up exchange programs with incubators in other parts of the world to improve exposure for developers. It will also be working with other incubators in India who may not have experience handling gaming startups. The other incubators will refer those developers to Gametantra.
More help for developers: Game developers are slowly getting more ecosystem support in India, recently Nazara had set up a Rs 5 crore seed fund for game developers. 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. The seed fund will pump in up to half a crore 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.
Japanese game developer, publisher and distributor Square Enix had also set up a base in India earlier this year and is working with around 10 Indian studios on India-themed games. The first game made through this tie-up is expected in 2014. The company had said that it is looking at developers making localised games in the free to play category in India.