Written by Craig Will (puffkix) Wednesday, 08 February 2012 06:00
GoozerNation recently had a Skype interview with Mr. Rajendran of Nextwave Multimedia about the history of the company, Bowling Wizards, and the future.
I want to start off asking a little bit about your company.
I was looking at your website and I noticed that you were founded in 1995 and you have quite the large catalogue of mobile games. Can you give a little background on how the company started?
We started over ten years ago and we were mostly a services company catering to predominately companies in Europe and of course there was a bit of business coming from the US. If you look at the company, many of us come from an advertising background and a creative background, [it’s] a combination of a bit of technology and design and design writing, a creative based technology venture. So we were doing mostly digital marketing communication and digital marketing games and branded games. A few years back we were thinking, you know services is a game of scale and typically you’ll find that each company is bigger than a college campus or as big as a college campus with 100,000 or 50,000 people. We realized that services was going to be a game of scale and we wanted to get into products but we were a small company, we continued to have a small team and not huge in financial [budget] and we wanted to stay away from trying to raise money. Then we said that product is the area we want to get into and based on experience, skill, and maturity we decided the best thing to do was cash-free games. It’s just something that we’ve wanted to get into for a long time but we were mostly surviving on our services work. There was a point in time a few years back that we took a call and spent more time trying to make our own games. We decided the safest thing to do was to bring some games that everyone wanted anyways. We tapped into our contacts in Europe which were selling to top brands, you know, branded games. Most of our games would be re-skinned and be part of a digital marketing campaign for some brands in Europe. With the advent of the App Store, and us having the biggest presence here in India, we started converting our games to that market and it has been a pretty good journey for us, we have done about 15 million downloads over the past two years [on the India download store Ovi]. That gave us a lot of encouragement as a service company totally shut out from the rest of the world. One example of something that completely changed the course for us: we did this mobile comic called Rambo Ramu and if you look at the Ovi store there are over 500 reviews on it. That was the first time that our services team was making creative [products] and putting it out there on the app store and we were getting immediate, wonderful reviews and responses from different people. Normally in services you have your client to appreciate it but in this thing it’s out there in the world and your staking claim to your work. We were really happy to be getting reviews from all over the world, wherever the comic was read. From then on we’ve continued to do [games]. Though we were doing these small cash-free games we felt now it’s time to do games that could get us big revenues, we are looking at games that would be over 200 levels that could get us some serious money. The [start] of that is Bowling Wizards, the first iteration of the game is out and we’ve been working hard on fixing bugs and fixing language issues, and we have a lot of updates on these games and we’d like to have something like 200 levels on that game. This is the first of our effort to do bigger games.
Are the new levels going to be free to those that have already purchased the game?
First we make 12 levels free and the person who purchases the game gets all 200 levels [as they are released].
Speaking of Bowling Wizards… Why choose bowling?
We have 5 different “worlds” in the game and each world has different gameplay. They’re not going to be the same gameplay. We chose bowling because this was our first big game and we wanted to be safe in that people can connect to bowling very easily in the west, I think bowling as an activity is the third most popular sport in Europe and the US combined, or something like that. We wanted to have something that people are familiar with and that’s why we took to bowling as a concept idea.
Yeah, I noticed there are a lot of Cricket games on your website…
…And Cricket doesn’t really appeal to the US as a whole.
Yeah, Cricket is – when we launched Cricket we had a lot of expectations and it’s not doing badly at all, it’s making us decent money but it’s only played in 7 countries. So that’s the problem and another reason we decided to go with bowling.
How is your penetration in the different markets around the globe? Is India your biggest market?
Right now the biggest market in terms of revenue is India, but with a new set of launches it needs to be global. Also our ad monetization has been pretty good, 70% of our ad monetization comes from US and Europe. We just started ad monetization on Android and iPhone and we have a lot of games coming on Android.
On Android we had started work on a table tennis game but we stopped to finish another project. Now we’re modifying what we had to make it very different from the existing ones. We are also planning to convert our existing catalogue of games to the Android platform, mostly for ad monetization. That’s in the next few months.
There’s a demo of Bowling Wizards available in the Market, after playing through the demo what can players look forward to in the full release?
In the full version each Island has its own different gameplay. In the demo the available Island is Airea which has a certain type of gameplay and Ruins has a totally different type of gameplay, Frosty is the third island and has very, very different gameplay, it’s very racy. Each one is totally different. One thing I’ve always seen with games like Angry Birds, a great game, is that one tends to play them for 10 to 20 levels and then most of us get bored after that. We wanted to bring in a lot of variety – five islands with totally different gameplay.