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Mobile games hit next level in India

Wireless games are emerging as a hot market in the subcontinent--and it's expected to get a whole lot hotter.

India's booming wireless-game market will continue to expand, generating annual revenue of $336 million by 2009, according to new data released this week.

That figure marks a major jump from the $26 million expected for this year.

The Indian mobile-game business currently makes up about 5 percent of the global wireless market, but it's growing fast, market researcher In-Stat/MDR said in its study. The market encompasses a half dozen major game developer companies and four service providers offering games to their subscribers. CDMA and GSM networks clock an average of 220,000 downloads per month, the researcher said.

"The growth of this market sector has attracted publishers, developers, animators, musicians and content providers, and is also stimulating the development of innovative business models," Clint Wheelock, director of In-Stat/MDR's wireless research group, said in a statement.

The market researcher said that because software services are a booming business in India, the country is emerging as a key market in the next big wave of mobile multimedia--both for software developers and consumers.

India currently has about 43 million mobile-phone subscribers, and a number of service providers are offering value-added services. Mobile phones are also emerging as a leading entertainment device.

As the use of mobile phones expands, and subscribers become more familiar with products and services, "the mobile-gaming industry in India can easily grow over 200 percent year on year for the next few years," said Anurag Khurana, CEO of Paradox Studios, a game developer based in Mumbai.