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Update: Gameloft offers game subscription to Idea customers; carrier billing with more operators soon

idea_gameloftIdea Cellular has tied-up with Gameloft to offer Java and Android games through its mobile website as part of Gameloft Club subscription.

Update: Gameloft has informed us that it is working on creating similar carrier billing tie-ups with other operators as well, to sell these non-HD games. Do note, that these games are different from those sold via Google Play Store. The company does not have any plan to start its HD+ subscription service in India for now.

Gameloft has not decided how much it will charge for the service in India yet, but has confirmed that these games will include in-app purchases which can be made using carrier billing. These games seem to be similar to those that are distributed by DisneyUTV, following the deal the companies inked in 2012. That being the case, it is not clear what happens to the deal or if it’s still valid.

Earlier: Gameloft will offer its old and existing games, as part of the subscription and as an inaugural offer, consumers will get one bonus game when downloading it from Idea’s website. It’s not clear how much Idea will charge its customers for the subscription service, but when Gameloft Club was launched in UK, back in 2011, customers were charged £0.99 per month.

In September 2012, DisneyUTV had inked a similar with Gameloft, to distribute their mobile games priced at Rs 30, Rs 50 and Rs 99 in India through operator channels and Indiagames website. Alternatively, Gameloft games can also be purchased from its official store via SMS. One has to provide requisite details like mobile number, operator and handset details to figure out the applicable charges and the SMS one has to send to receive the download link. It seems to support all major telcos in India, as of now.

Most Gameloft games have in-app purchases to monetize the game, it is not clear if Idea will offer in-app billing support for such purchases and if yes, it could be a good alternate source of revenue for the operator. That said, it’s not clear if this is an exclusive deal, so it is possible that Gameloft will approach other operators for the same service. Idea has been trying to get more people to use its data services and had launched time based access to its data services for Opera Mini users on its network.

Idea had said while presenting results at the end of Q3-FY14 that it has 25.522 million data customers, of which 4.6 million were new 3G connections, with an overall data ARPU of Rs 91. Data as a percentage of service revenue had increased by 3.8% to 9.5% in the last one year. ‘Value Added Services’ (VAS) (including Data and Non-Data VAS) were 16.1% of ‘Service Revenue’, up from 14.6% in Q3-FY13.

Gameloft in India

Gameloft had launched its Indian operations in 2005 and had tied up with partners like Vodafone, Airtel, Spice, Indiatimes, Star and Dialog, to distribute its game titles such as Prince of Persia, LOST, Desperate Housewives, Might and Magic, Block Breaker Deluxe and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, as indicated by a Gameguru report.

In May 2012, Gameloft had partnered with mobile chipset manufacturer, Mediatek to support gaming applications on MediaTek’s feature and smartphone platforms.

The company had however shut down its studios in India in February 2013 as it shifted focus from java based games to smartphone games.

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