Zapak extends online games to discs to expand reach

Reliance Big Entertainment’s online gaming arm, Zapak Digital Entertainment, is now offering gaming CDs to beat the lukewarm response for its downloadable online games segment.

“The downloadable games business is taking time to take-off. Issues like robust payment mechanisms and peoples reservation to pay online are some of the reasons for slow adoption. Hence the need to launch these games on CDs. However, online gaming segment continues to be the focus of the company,” said Rohit Sharma, Chief Operating Officer, Zapak Digital Entertainment.

Zapak has already released 150,000 CDs of 47 titles in the action, adventure, sports and classic genre. The CDs are priced between Rs. 49 and Rs. 99 depending on the publisher, gameplay and the artwork. With this launch, the company is targeting a revenue in the range of Rs. 5 crore in the next three months. “We intend to launch 10-15 games every two to three months. We currently have tie-ups with over 30 studios in the US, UK and Europe and are in the process of signing more,” adds Sharma. Currently Zapak has a 60-game catalogue. By year end Zapak’s target is to launch 150 titles.

The game CDs will be available in 3,000-4,000 retail outlets, including large format stores, across 77 cities. Along with 25 Zapak gaming outlets. The company has a target to have 400-500 gaming cafes by March 2009. The company has already invested in 70 new properties and are also looking at franchise route.

Sharma explained that launching of the CDs will allow Zapak to reach out to B and C Cities. “These markets are very critical to us. Cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and others are doing much better than metro centres. Some of the occupancy rates that these cafe’s have are really high,” said Sharma.

Zapak also intends to use CDs to divert traffic to its portal. The CDs will have the beta version of massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) that the company plans to launch soon.

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