The entire output of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies is predicted to surpass the aggregate GDP of the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the UK by 2020 according to the 2013 Human Development Report from the UN.
As one of the world’s leading digital marketing agencies, my company Glispa, has rapidly come to understand that the BRIC markets with their sheer population size and growing affluence offer Western creators a huge opportunity to increase their user base and revenues.
Although these markets have been grouped together, they are of course very different. In Brazil, free-to-play games are the most popular and social media is hugely influential when it comes to influencing purchasing decisions. Historically monetisation has been slow to take off here but now we are seeing that this is starting to happen.
Russia, meanwhile, is a more traditional market with hardcore games being most popular and gamers looking to professional review sites when deciding what to play. India is much closer to the Western model with free-to-play and mobile being the most popular types of games and once again social media is very influential. In China free-to-play and VIP access are the models that work best and MMOs are huge making up 67 per cent of total gaming revenue, according to gamemarketer.com.
The most obvious thing to do is to fully localise your games in the native language. The only BRIC market where this doesn’t hold true is India where English is widely spoken. Also bear in mind you will need native speaking community support.
Do your platform research. PCs are still a very popular gaming platform in Russia and China. Android has a huge userbase in all BRIC regions but iOS monetises better. Make sure that you understand what platform your users will be using to engage with your product and focus on the user experience for those.
Also take into account cultural sensitivities – a shooter set in the Cold War from a Western point of view is unlikely to be a hit in Russia. This can be a minefield, which is why it makes sense to form some kind of partnership with companies who already have a foothold in these markets and so have local knowledge.
Make sure that you are prepared for the various financial and legal processes of setting up business partnerships in these countries. Once again, specialised knowledge is worth its weight in gold here.
Do you understand how your product will reach the end user and integrate with them? Don‘t assume that the official app stores are the most effective way for your product to reach your target audience. In China particularly, a local publishing partner can help you navigate the third party app store ecosystem as Android phones do not have Google Play as their default app store. Instead, there are many third-party android app stores filling this role.
For small developers, some of this advice is going to seem rather out of reach but I do believe the potential rewards would justify the legwork. I’d advocate investigating the local scene because, as with all markets, there are global giants and local players. Look at what they are doing and learn from them. Rather than tackling BRIC as a block, hone in on one country where you feel your game is a good fit and focus on that – for example, Subway Surfers is one of the top grossing games in India on iOS and Android.
The BRIC markets, which are already huge, are certain to continue to grow and for that reason they are worth serious consideration. If you want to be even further ahead of the curve, the next big thing is the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) countries and many of the points I make for succeeding in the BRIC are applicable to these countries too.
Tim Nilsson is managing director of Glispa and has over 15 years of experience in internet and new media companies across Europe. Prior to joining the glispa team, he was Global VP of Publisher Management and then Country Manager UK for ZANOX. Tim also co-founded Tillväxtpiloterna AB, an e-learning & recruitment company. At glispa, Tim is responsible for overseeing business development, recruitment, and publisher management.