PUNE:Bollywood actress Malaika Arora Khan is featuring in a mobile game (as games played on mobile phones are called) being developed by the Anil Ambani-promoted games publisher Jump Games. The company has signed an exclusive two-year contract with the actress, who will turn up on mobile phone screens as a mermaid collecting jewels in a game. The game will be launched on several networks across the world, including MTN in South Africa, Du in West Asia, and Vodafone in Australia and the UK.
The size of the mobile gaming industry is currently estimated at $2.5 billion (Rs11,000 crore) and projected to grow to $10 billion by 2010. Jump, set up last September, claimed it has already signed deals with several global firms, including Vodafone, to which it expects to start supplying games by the middle of 2006. “We are supplying two-three games a month to our clients,” said Salil Bhargava, Jump’s CEO. Its roster of clients in India included BSNL, Idea Cellular, Spice and Reliance Communications.
Telecom companies around the world are rushing to offer value-added services such as games because of ever-falling tariffs in the voice business. Jump has already signed up Tamil movie star Madhavan, Bollywood’s Sameera Reddy and singer Bappi Lahiri for games.
In India, less than 1% of the country’s 150 million mobile phone users subscribe to mobile games. But Bhargava is convinced that the number will grow as more subscribers discover the pleasure of gaming. “The industry will grow from the current level of Rs100 crore to Rs750 crore by 2010,” he said.
Jump has set up a new production facility in Pune in addition to its existing one in Mumbai and has opened a sales office in Stockholm.
“Europe and the United States are the fastest growing markets for mobile gaming and it pays to be in Stockholm, which gives us access to biggies such as Sony Ericsson and Nokia,” said Bhargava.