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Rediff News  All News  » Business » Gaming companies turn focus to kids

Gaming companies turn focus to kids

June 13, 2011 11:29 IST
In 2009, 36-year-old Sudha Rani used to look for excuses to keep her two children occupied during the holidays so that they do not play outdoor games under the scorching sun.

"Not anymore. With the simplest online games on offer now, specifically targeting kids it is not difficult," says Rani.

"Some of these games are actually useful for educational purposes. And, participating in those games is a great bonding experience with my children."

Gaming companies are increasingly focusing on kids following the success of Club Penguin - a massively multiplayer online role-playing game owned by US-based New Horizon Interactive, which was acquired by Disney in August 2007 for $350 million.

Club Penguin started with 15,000 users five years ago and has over 15 million user accounts today clocking revenues of $100 million a year.

"The reasons to go for kids-based games are manifold," says Manish Agarwal, chief operating officer (digital business) of Reliance Entertainment Limited.

"Kids are the most demanding consumers today. This is where our bridges the gap between users and content."

Zapak launched its exclusive kids gaming portal about three years ago to ensure that children have a platform to enjoy games.

"We intend to launch a zone for kids where they can play and allow their parents to evaluate abilities like hand-eye
coordination and logical reasoning. Besides, they can enhance basic skills like language acquisition, visual and auditory memory and concentration.

"Every parent will have the opportunity to sample the content that they are exposing their kid to. Nothing gets the message across than a multiplayer game of 'Chess' or 'Tic-Tac-Toe'," he adds.

Agarwal says kids' games take more time to develop than conventional games, since it has to match the child's intellectual and physical abilities.

"This requires a lot of testing and evaluation. The return on investment is 20 per cent more compared to other games."

According to Alok Kejriwal, founder and chief executive of Mumbai-based Games2Win, the online gaming market globally is over $3 billion and kids' games account for about10 per cent of it. currently has 22 'spot-the-differences', 'simple math', 'fly-a-plane' kind of games and Games2win is planning to add nearly 48 more this year (four a month).

"India has responded very well to our kids' games. In just a year, we attracted 400,000 (30,000 kids a day) to without any advertising.

And, we hit peak numbers this summer. In the US and Europe, we will reach peak numbers in July and August (summer holidays)," he adds.

K Rajani Kanth in Hyderabad