Mobile game makers should focus on engagement and retention, not just downloads: CEO, Reliance Games

On the first day of the event, we had a quick chat with Amit Khanduja, CEO of Reliance games.

The international mobile gaming conference, Pocket Gamer Connects, comes to Bengaluru. This is the second PGConnects in India in associated with Reliance Games, developer and publisher of mobile games. This year, it has over 50 speakers talking about building games and retention to monetisation and localisation, acting as a learning platform for indie developers. On the first day of the event, we had a quick chat with Amit Khanduja, CEO of Reliance Games.

Talking about the ongoing PGConnects 2016, Khanduja explains that last year the focus was on the ecosystem, and this year too, the conference would be about growing the ecosystem.  “We have great developers, great games, best analytical solutions, artists and engineers. We need the ability to be able combine all of that to build actual games. In fact, in the next 24 months we could have the no. 1 game come from India. There is no reason why we cannot be on map for development,” Khanduja tells us.

The gaming had crafted two simultaneously sessions – Make in India and Indie Mobile University. On asked about mobile gaming being the future, he promptly said it’s already here and happening. After all, most players own a mobile game than a console. The factor responsible for this is the increasing number of mobile devices every month which are fairly capable of handling these games, improving data speeds, and Wi-Fi becoming more ubiquitous. “So, you will see content becoming a common component. This means people consuming a lot of content, and mostly its entertainment content , which will include mobile gaming. So it’s a logical conclusion why so we absolutely the future. And, it is where India is heading very fast,” he explained.

Reliance Games has also been working closely with gaming start-ups with the objective is to grow its pool of potential partners. “We like the game and the concept falls in our strategy, then we are willing to invest not just money, but also marketing resources and help them publish it. And, find the best way to make money for both,” he said. Reliance Games has been working with many start-ups, and he points out working closely with a startup building a shooter game for the past nine months.

While India could be the second largest gaming market in the 36-40 months, he adds. However, that’s just in terms of downloads, and not revenue. The problem lies when we look at India, how we look globally, he said. Needless to say, people in India do not spend enough on in-app purchases, and there are several reasons. Khanduja wants to explain to developers that, “We are not an extension of what you launch in the US or the UK. We have unique requirements like content not only localised in language but also regional, payment methods people are applicable to here, as credit card penetration is minimum and only at the higher end of spectrum.” He further points out how tier 2 and tier 3 cities are driving mobile content as these people are fairly new to a smartphone and Internet connectivity.

He further suggests that the market has to evolve in terms of marketing and advertising. The focus should be on a game that will go far and people will continue to play, bringing sponsors, incorporating India-specific monetisation, alternative mechanisms to advertising like earning points and so on. He also emphasises on focussing on individual user behaviours and using analytics to target audiences.

Finally, he says that the right quality, content and design will go a long way. One cannot simply make money on downloads as engagement and retention are equally important.

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