An Interview With Flipkart GamingMarch 10, 2016
Video gaming, in general, set up camp in the urban pockets of India long after it had made its humongous impact all around the globe. However, displaying the scantest signs of decelerating of their passage in making their way into being a staple among Indian teens and children alike, today the video gaming industry in India is booming in every dimension. Contributing towards this spectacular growth, seen by us gaming enthusiasts and journalists, has been Flipkart Gaming. Being one of cardinal online retailers among the various other products, Flipkart Gaming has made major inroads in a gaming scene undoubtedly dominated by piracy. We had the opportunity to interact with the people behind the success of the gaming venture by India’s poster boy in start-ups and asked about their thoughts on the plague that has been piracy, their take on current gen gaming consumers, and the reason behind their dormancy in conducting gaming events.
What’s the primary aim of Flipkart when it comes to gaming in India?
The primary focus is to build the largest community of gamers. We are a brand that is passionate about gaming and want to engage with our growing community every day and bring them daily content, launch announcements & exclusive offers. Eventually we want to take this relationship offline & grow closer to members of our community.
Let’s get to the questions everyone wants to know first. How often can we expect big sales from Flipkart gaming and are you planning on doing any big contests and giveaways?
We’re constantly running ‘Deals of the day’ for games and gaming accessories where we are giving away handpicked products across platforms at attractive prices. You can expect some good discounts on a larger variety of games, gaming consoles, and accessories. Our ongoing #BigShoppingDays had great offers for gamers & we will continue to bring these at every large sale event.
A lot of gaming events are happening in India these days. Is Flipkart planning to dive into the fray with their own events as well?
We definitely plan to drive our own championships among the gaming fraternity. This could either be co-partnered through our brands or exclusive promotion. This quarter, we look forward to organizing some innovative online tournaments. This engagement will be taken at a larger scale (online + offline)in the coming months.
Let’s talk about the Flipkart Gaming Facebook page. How do you plan content on the page and who’s responsible for the Flipkart Gaming initiative?
Our engagement content is based on gamer’s interest and we ensure its topical and pop culture related. We have a social media game, and one of the employee, Gnanashekar plans and executes the engagement content & interact with the community members on the page, while our guys in the business team work the magic to get us deals & exclusives. we constantly are on a look out for user generated content that our community will like.
“The current gen loves to play and gets deeply involved in the game, and that’s how it’s done. They are as passionate, skillful & knowledgeable as gamers in any other part of the world. Especially when it comes to competitive eSports! I won’t be surprised to see India do well globally in eSports.” Says Gnanashekar, the man behind the Flipkart Gaming Facebook page.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room when it comes to the Indian gaming scene, i.e. piracy. Given that Flipkart gaming’s main goal is to sell games, and the fact that India is generally notorious for pirates, how do you plan to tackle the problem?
We think not just in India, but universally publishers and platform have started addressing the issue very seriously. Currently most of the PC games come with region lock codes. Current gen console (PS4/Xbox one) at least for now cannot play pirated games. With few National distributors bringing in more competitive price in India we think the problem is already been addressed. In long run we need — not just technology but also the stake holders contribution including gaming community to overcome piracy which has remained a point of contention for many publishers when it comes to India.
What’s Flipkart’s take on the current generation of gamers, gaming in India, and its place in world?
When it comes to casual gaming, India has grown significantly! The current gen loves to play and gets deeply involved in the game, and that’s how it’s done. They are as passionate, skillful & knowledgeable as gamers in any other part of the world. Especially when it comes to competitive eSports! I won’t be surprised to see India do well globally in eSports.
We do however feel they might not have access to all titles, hardware, and DLCs that they wish for and it’s our endeavor to close the gap.
The concept of selling, trading, and buying used console games isn’t all that common in India even though one would expect it to be given the price tag of most console games over here. Gamestop is a huge proponent of these practices abroad, will Flipkart be doing something similar? With the amount of reach Flipkart has and it’s logistical prowess, would something like this be a possibility in the Indian marketplace?
Flipkart is the only e-commerce player to have a large warehouse capacity and excellent reverse logistics setup in place. Through various customer insights, we’ve realized that there is a strong desire for gamers to upgrade to new consoles and adapt to new technology. Flipkart would soon plan to launch product exchange capabilities on consoles, where gamers can exchange their old handheld/home consoles for newer versions at a predefined price. This, we believe, will be disruptive for the gaming market in India.
Apart from just selling games, Flipkart Gaming, from what I’m aware, is also interested in delving into the event side of things when it comes to the gaming industry. Could you elaborate your plans regarding gaming events in India? Whether they’d be completely esports focused, unconventional events similar to IGX, or a mix of both?
E-sports at least for now has not been fully under control. We are already exploring ways to promote esports in mainstream aligning with major gaming partners. However, for now, we will be promoting events around big releases and tournaments both in PC and console.
Considering the fact that esports in India is ever-expanding with big entrants such as the Indian Gaming League paving way, will we be seeing Flipkart Gaming emerge into the esports scene as well? If yes, to what extent?
We have done a few competitive gaming tournaments before majorly for engaging with our gamers. We might restart that soon. We’re working on it.
Flipkart Gaming has been quite dormant for a long time. What were the reasons that made you guys go out of commission and come back again all of a sudden? What are your thoughts on the current gaming scene in India?
Gaming landscape in India has not gone through a dramatic change for quite some time, unlike other countries. While in one hand this may be attributed to our culture; we believe it is also because of many other macro factors like pricing, lack of marketing initiatives from platform / publishers and taxation. While New generation console got warm response compared to previous gen it is vital for the industry to review its way of working in India since gaming (Both console & PC) has become elite hobby which has made mass market shift impossible. Even now chunk of our customer are based out of top 10 cities and there is a huge market in Tier 2/3 which remains unaddressed. Flipkart has relaunched Xbox portfolio since October 2015 and with this we have also been working on various other areas like digital code in the box, value cards and E-sports merchandise. While we have been not really dormant at least internally we couldn’t get back on our Facebook page because of operational reasons. Now we are back we assure we will be 24/7 active here with more engaging content, exclusive deals and giveaways which will be part of our routine.
Is Flipkart planning on helping smaller third party Bloggers/YouTubers through their Facebook page in anyway? If the answer is yes, then how can people connect with you in order to seek your help/expertise?
Definitely! We would love to partner with bloggers and YouTubers who can provide quality & real time content! We will be reaching out to them soon. Till then, you can follow all the updates and happenings on the Flipkart Gaming page!
In a market dominated by free-to-play games, and the increasing transfer being practiced by publishers in preferring digital copies and many of them are rendering their physical copies next to useless, we at ASidCast, wish Flipkart Gaming our best wishes for the future.