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Gaming firms eye big bucks from polls
K Rajani Kanth in Chennai/ Hyderabad
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March 26, 2009 12:08 IST

Election 2009 is revitalising the Indian gaming companies' interest in developing games based on political and election themes for online and mobile platforms.

"It's raining subscribers for us, especially youth, and is a time to rake in more moolah," they say, with most of them putting the development of other genre of games on the back burner for the time being.

"Every gaming company in India is now after developing political games for the reason being simple. It's seasonal unlike other genre of casual online games and brings back the returns within 2-3 months. The market is going to be flooded with more such stuff", said L Maruti [Get Quote] Sanker, managing director of 7Seas Technologies that launched the country's first political game recently at an investment of Rs 25 lakh. The company's gaming portal is witnessing about 100,000 visitors a day, he adds.

Following suit, Mumbai-based Game2Win has released two games � Singh is King and Stock Market Suicide � for the online market, which is expected to touch $700 million in the next 3 years from the present $300 million.

Echoing the sentiment, Alok Kejriwal, founder and chief executive officer of Games2win says though it is difficult to project revenues for such topical political games, the company expects these to add 1 per cent to its revenues.

"We are planning to launch two more special games � Mascot Chimpoo and Poll � for these elections targeted at gamers in the 18-25 age group on Orkut since it's the largest community of young people and can become very viral," he adds.

Another Mumbai-based internet media company Insite Digital has launched Politicking, the age-old game of snakes and ladders, now adapted to the general elections. It is set to launch eight more political games by mid-April, including The Indian Political League for which the company has already registered the domain name, with a total investment of Rs 1.25 crore.

"Our current focus is to attract youth through these games via social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Orkut. We aspire to have a million registered users for these games and expect to get the return on investment in the next two months," says Amit Tripathi, managing director of Insite Digital.

The promising story of Indian political games doesn't end here, as mobile gaming companies too are gearing up to plunge into this arena.

Mumbai-based Nazara Technologies took to the concept of developing political games after the US elections. "We believe that games based on this concept do fairly well. Initially, we will be launching two political games for mobile devices by the third week of April. Our target audience will be the Indian youth," says Nitish Mittersain, chief executive of the Rs 35 crore (Rs 350 million) company.

Nazara has tied up with mobile operators in India like Vodafone, Airtel and Tata Indicom for distribution of its games. "Our current subscriber base is 1 million. This will grow to 1.2 million with these political games. Also, this will increase our revenues by Rs 50 lakh," Mittersain adds.

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