Excel ties up with Electronic Arts for gaming

MUMBAI: Home video major Excel Home Videos has charted a new growth strategy for itself in the coming months. While the company has a 45 per cent market share in the international category and an 18 per cent share in the overall (local and international) home video segment in India, plans are now to diversify into interactive gaming.


Excel Home Videos is planning to launch its Interactive Gaming division next month and has tied up with California based Electronic Arts (EA) for the same.


Electronic Arts is an independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation2, the PlayStation, PlayStation Portable system, Xbox video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo DS as well as PC. The company is also in the process of developing games for next generation consoles including Xbox 360, the PlayStation3 and the next console from Nintendo.


Some of the popular games that EA has are Need for Speed, Cricket, Harry Potter, FIFA, Lord of the Rings, Superman and Star Wars amongst others.


Speaking exclusively to Businessofcinema.com, Excel Productions Audiovisuals Pvt Ltd managing director Muslim Kapasi says, “Excel’s association with Electronic Arts PC for the Interactive Gaming division will compliment our presence in the home video space and vice versa. We are very excited about our launch next month. We will have access to their entire library. Electronic Arts’ 95 per cent of revenues comes from Electronic Arts PC games. It was quite a natural progression for us to enter this segment as the distribution of the gaming product overlaps with that of the home video.”


Besides their home video distribution network comprising 120 distributors, Excel will also be looking at additional touch points for the interactive games like toy shops, departmental stores and garment stores like Liliput.


“EA saw us a dominant player in retail presence and visibility and also as someone who could grow their interactive business. This partnership will help us get interactive and diverse content into our pipeline. Electronic Arts globally enjoys a market share of about 35 per cent in the countries that it has a presence in. Its nearest competitor has a share of about nine per cent,” says Kapasi.


India is a very challenging market where piracy is rampant and hence Excel Home Videos and EA will be playing a larger role in order to control piracy of their products.


As a part of their long term plan, Excel will also be looking at localizing some of Electronic Arts’ content to suit Indian sensibilities. “A game called Need for Speed has background music, which is its USP. That background music can be re-done with an Indian soundtrack,” informs Kapasi.


He further adds, “We have a phase wise growth plan for this division. It will take about six months from the day of launch to understand the product. While the distribution comes naturally to us, we are yet to learn the kind of games consumers’ buy and appreciate. Having studied that, our business plan will structurally be modified to enhance and ensure that consumers are satisfied.”


EA has games that address all age groups — from toddlers to youth to middle age gamers. “To begin with, we will be focusing on the adult segment, starting from tweens to the 35+ age group,” says Kapasi.


As far as the marketing is concerned, focus will be more at the retail level. “We have our strength in the retail space and hence we will be focusing our marketing energies there. Apart from that we will also be looking at some amount of above the line marketing,” he adds.


These interactive games will be competitively priced. One of the reasons for this is to curb piracy legally as well as commercially.

Hetal Adesara

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