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Handset makers target gamers to boost sales

Last updated on: June 6, 2011 12:31 IST

Handset makers target gamers to boost sales

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Katya B Naidu in Mumbai

Sujay Joshi is a PC gaming enthusiast. He also likes gaming while on the move. He has downloaded games on his mobile handset, but feels a handset designed for gaming would be an extremely interesting companion.

Such avid gamers are being increasingly targeted by mobile handset makers. Designed to match consumer expectations - with dedicated gaming keys - these phones are direct competition to devices like Game Boy and Play Station Portable.

The fact that one can uses these devices to make calls is an incentive for gamers.

Sony Ericsson launched Xperia Play, a slide phone with gaming grip and dedicated keys, recently.

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Image: Sony Ericsson has launched Xperia Play with gaming grip.

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It comes with five pre-loaded games and one Play Station game. The handset also allows downloads of up to 80 games.

"One gets a complete multimedia experience in one gadget apart from it being a phone," said Joshi, who did not mind paying Rs. 29,000 for the andriod phone.

But it is not just high-end phones that offers such options. Indian manufacturer MAXX Mobile has also come up with a gaming phone at Rs. 2,300. It has 250 pre-loaded games and a 2 GB data card to support.

Though these phones are targeted at gaming addicts, growth in the mobile gaming space too is fast becoming a trigger.

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Image: MAXX Mobile has also come up with a gaming phone.

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According to a FICCI-KPMG report, mobile gaming is a Rs. 280-crore (Rs. 2. 8 billion) market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 45 per cent to reach Rs. 1,740 crore (Rs. 17.4 billion) by 2015.

"Gaming is a very important requirement in mobile handsets now. After the launch of N Gage by Nokia, the gaming phones space has almost been empty," said Ajjay Agarwal, chairman and managing director of MAXX group.

The company is also planning to launch at least one more phone this year.

With more and more handset makers offering the same features, manufacturers feel the gaming way could differentiate them from others.

"We will come up with upgraded features," said Agarwal.

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Image: Mobile gaming is a Rs 280-crore market.

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Prasun Kumar, the head of marketing of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, India, said while mobile gaming had been growing steadily over the last few years, in the past 6-12 months it has reached a different proportion.

"This is because of the rise in online gaming. We have been working on it and thought it's the right time to enter the market as a large number of youngsters are shifting to social networking and gaming on the handsets," he said. While these handsets are targeted at gamers across all age groups, they are primarily targeted at the 18-28 age group.

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Image: Mobile gaming market is set to reach Rs 1,740 crore by 2015.

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However, gamers like Priya Mehra are not very happy. "I had to charge my phone twice a day, and carrying a charger to office was too much of a problem," she said.

Mobile phone manufacturers are taking such feedback very seriously and are learning fast. "We have a different power processor in place, and a new coding software. It allows 3-4 hours of continuous gaming," said Agarwal.

Sony Xperia too enables 2.5 hours of gaming.


Image: Mobile handsets are giving competition to devices like Game Boy.

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