Zapak Digital Entertainment, an Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) venture, is investing in an international gaming portal to attract global casual gamers.
The company has earmarked an initial investment of Rs 15 crore and will launch the gaming website — Zapakworld.com — in 14 international languages within the next three months. Zapakworld already hosts 12,000 games and is available in six languages namely Spanish, French, Russia, Portuguese, English and Hindi.
Zapak Chief Operating Officer Rohit Sharma says, “We estimate that around 20 per cent of Zapak Digital’s revenues may come from our international portals in the next 12 months.”
The entertainment company is going to introduce ‘Try and Buy’ model for its games and is also said to be exploring advertising-based revenue models for the bulk of its casual games.
The Indian online gaming industry is expected to touch around Rs 1,000 crore by 2012.
Zapak had committed an investment of $100 million (around Rs 500 crore) over a five-year period from its inception in 2006.
With over 5 million registered users, the site also offers paid game downloads starting at under Rs 50.
The expansion is part of Zapak’s three-pronged strategy. First two stages included launching a domestic as well as international gaming portal. The last part of the strategy will comprise local game portals in countries such as Brazil, China, Russia and Pakistan.
Currently in the last stages of finalising joint venture deals with potential partners in Brazil, Pakistan and Russia, Sharma says Zapak will launch separate entertainment units to develop and market the game portals in the respective countries.
In addition, around $0.5 million will be invested to acquire content from East Europe, including Russia.
Games for the portals in Brazil, Russia and Pakistan will be outsourced from local developers and Zapak is also eyeing tie-ups with local game developing studios to create relevant games.
A FICCI and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report indicates that BRIC countries will account for 24 per cent of the growth in global entertainment and media in the next five years.
The entertainment and media industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 13 per cent in China, 8.3 per cent in Russia and 7.7 per cent in Brazil.
Zapakworld will also host a slew of multi-player games, which can be played by hundreds of gamers at one go. Sharma says, “There are plans to introduce atleast 5-6 MMOG's with three titles to be launched this year the first title in the series being Crazy Kart in association with Shanda Interactive Entertainment.”
Zapakworld is a feature rich gaming portal where users can upload their photos, select avatars, make new buddies, meet like-minded people and engage in some social networking while playing.
6 months ago