Vishal Gondal, CEO, Indiagames, on Indian Gaming Industry

Vishal Gondal founded Indiagames, a gaming company, in 1999 with a team of five members. Today he leads a global operation with over 300 employees and offices in Mumbai, Beijing, London and Los Angeles. A pioneer of gaming industry in India, Vishal was part of the Nokia Advisory Council for games and actively advises Nokia on wireless and gaming technologies and is a much sought after speaker at gaming and wireless technology conferences. Indiagames under Vishal’s leadership was featured amongst Red Herring (magazine) Asia’s top 100 companies in 2005. Yourstory caught up with him on the sidelines of IIT Mumbai entrepreneurship Summit-2009 to know more about the opportunities and challenges of Gaming industry in India. 

There’s been conflicting reports about the market potential of Gaming industry in India? What’s your take on that?

Well, it’s anybody guess as market is fast evolving. There are four different platforms, which generate revenue in Gaming industry in India. It’s Mobile, Online, Console and PC. Currently, mobile gaming has the biggest market in India, which is to the tune of Rs200 crore. Online and Console gaming, together, is worth Rs100 crore and, PC gaming accounts for another Rs150 crore. Overall, the Indian gaming market is worth Rs450 crore. In another 3 years, as per the Nasscom report, Indian gaming industry will be worth Rs1600 crore approximately. 

What’s the revenue model of Indiagames?

Our revenue model is totally based on online subscription. We have 35,000 subscribers and we provide them games on demand. To give a wide range of choices to our customers, we have tied-up with major gaming companies. We charge Rs200 per month and bill it to the broadband service providers. This type of billing is unique and first in the Indian gaming industry. It ensures a hassle-free collection and also helps tackle the menace of piracy. Revenue through online advertising is an added bonus.

What’s the demography of your online subscribers?

You will be surprised to know that 90% of our customers are from non-metro cities. And there is a valid reason for that. First, you don’t get pirated gaming software in tier-II and tier-III cities. Secondly, there is very low penetration of internet kiosks and gaming parlours in such cities. 

What about opening up your own gaming kiosks in metros as Zapak has done to target young users?

There is a huge locking capital involved in opening up cyber cafes. We are not ready to invest in real estate as yet. We would rather concentrate on expanding our online subscription client base. There are close to 6 million broadband connections in India. That’s our target audience. 
 
In these times of recession, is it a good time to be an entrepreneur?

Oh absolutely! On the contrary, I would say big companies reputation have taken a huge hit. Banks are being sold, huge scams, and overall, companies are resorting to pay-cuts and pink slips. You look around and there is an entrepreneur in every corner. 

What are the new promising sectors for entrepreneurs?

I think security sector is going to be very big, especially after the recent terror attacks. The concern for safety will percolate down to housing societies and huge bungalows. Products such as alarms, surveillance cameras, detectors will be in big demand.