2011 was not the first year that digital games were developed based on Bollywood movies. It has been done earlier as well, but sporadically. In the past year we saw quite a few big name films launch games (PC, mobile and console games) to further the brand and also as a marketing ploy. Salman Khan’s film Bodyguard was the biggest grosser of 2011, raking in more than Rs. 100 crores. A mobile game based on the film is also on top of the download list on Djuzz, which is a games download portal part of Buzzcity. The game had been downloaded more than 30,000 times in just over a month, by the end of December 2011.
The game was developed by Jump Games, which is owned by Reliance Entertainment and it was launched on multiple platforms including Java, Android and Blackberry. The game was priced at Rs. 50.
Another film which had a successful game avatar was Delhi Belly, the dark comedy starring Imran Khan. The game was released in July 2011 and more than six months after its release the game still attracts around 4000 downloads a month. The FICCI KPMG 2011 report reveals that the mobile gaming sector inIndiais growing at 45% year-on-year. Games based on Hollywood flicks have also done good business in India. A game based on Harry Potter: Half Blood Prince, which is being distributed by Buzzcity, has been downloaded more than 370,000 times since its release in November 2010. According to some estimates there were at least 20 game titles inspired from or based on films and TV shows in the top 100 games of 2011.
Initially in India games based on movies were developed mostly as a marketing/promotion tool. As smartphones prices have dropped and India has seen an unprecedented growth in mobile phone usage, mobile games are an excellent medium to establish and reinforce a brand. So, beyond the life of the movie in the theatre the brand of the film lives on. This can prove to be lucrative. A number of major media houses in India are entering the game development domain. UTV Indiagames had been actively part of Ra.One’s marketing strategy and created a game based on the film. New revenue models are also being experimented with. Some games have a certain download price, in some cases the game encourages players to indulge in in-game purchases and then there are pay-per-play options as well.
Most experts believe that the trend of developing mobile games based on movies will continue in 2012. There is no doubt about its potential and with smartphone usage increasing consumers will be on the look out for interesting and interactive mobile content and there can nothing better than a mobile game. Bollywood has fascinated the country for decades now and people would love playing a game which features their favorite celluloid characters. The crucial aspect here is monetizing the games. Filmmakers and game developers need to work together and identify viable strategies to monetize a game, failing which this trend can quickly fizz out.
Have you played any mobile game based on a film? How was the experience? Does it match up to a Lara Croft game?