Movie based mobile games: a planned extension or marketing strategy?

Mobile games based on movie properties have been mushrooming every now and then since smartphones became a basic necessity of lives.
Ghajini mobile game

Mobile games based on movie properties have been mushrooming every now and then since smartphones became a basic necessity of lives. Though most of the times, these games are seen as a mere extension of studio’s product into another vertical -- creating a chase-for-survival kind of ambience – a plethora of studios are making their presence felt in this category, ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ being the latest.

As I remember, last player to step in mobile gaming was Disney that with uppoert from its digital arm Disney Interactive launched mobile app on its most awaited movie - Jungle Book preceded by Frozen. In Bollywood space, Yash Raj Films, the pioneer in entertainment licensing, announced mobile games on Shahrukh Khan’s movie FAN, followed by Sultan slated to release this id.

By now, I think we all have recalled the all-they-tend-to-tell-same-story mobile games of Ra.One, Dhoom 3, Krissh, Chennai Express which launched few weeks ahead of release and went away with the movies.

The fillip to licensing in gaming industry         

The strengths of this genre in licensing lie in cross-platform, mainly iOS and android based games, increasing exposure to internet and zero dependence on channels  like theatricals or TV properties. Once the popularity spreads and fans get hands on, the addiction traverse to buying licensed merchandise including stationary, accessories, collectibles etc. while apparel being the hot-selling products.

Further, the popularity spreading fast at digital platform also adds to the value of IP. There is a dedicated digital audience at hand, who the property owners can communicate with in no time, about new products, promotions and also gain marketing insights from directly.

Gaming as extension

While consumer is high on a good dose of bollywood movies and entertainment licensing dominates the licensing industry in India, mobiles games adapted from bollywood movies have not been as successful as those in west.

While West exploits the industry as extension tool, in India, gaming industry is seen more as a promotional strategy before release of movies.

Abhinav Chokhavatia, Founder & CEO, Zatun says, “Normally what happens is that when a lot of movies come out, games also come in market around those movies, which help promote the movie as well. But most of the times, games are released just an addition and not much thought is given into it. While in west, when a movie is released – for instance ‘Lord of the rings’, the game is given equal treatment as the movie is. So, the licensing deal for gaming takes place almost at the time when movie production begins.”

A prominent reason for movie-based games not being successful in India is the availability of games limited to Smartphone only and not across platforms. Another factors is the Rs. 50 plus transaction-point which does not attract many consumers. 

Forthcoming

With rising smartphone and tablet penetration, the mobile gaming industry in India is expected to touch Rs 2,620 crore by 2019, with a year-on-year growth of 20 per cent, according to a recent report by FICCI-KPMG.

However, the sector must do its bit to stay on top as it requires constant innovations and additions to not just grow the market share, but to keep the fans engaged, it needs marketing innovations to stay top of mind in the ever-changing digital world and from a licensing perspective needs a strong programme and strategy.

One needs also needs to drive awareness across retailers, both brick and mortar as well as online,  because they may not be in tune with the latest property making waves among consumers – that last mile awareness becomes critical for making digital properties available to fans yearning for them.”

 

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