When Anand S Vinekar, an ophthalmologist at Narayana Nethralaya, Bangalore, wanted to treat amblyopia or lazy eye syndrome, an early childhood condition where one eye does not develop as it should, with a coloured game app (short for application), he approached BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM).
The company asked its developers to create a game app for Vinekar that encourages the lazy eye to be more active.
This, and many more game apps, including enterprise game apps that allow employees of corporate houses to understand the company's policies and strategies much better, are now in the process of being ported on BlackBerry 10, RIM’s proprietary mobile operating system. BB 10 is scheduled for a global launch on January 30, and a few weeks from then in India and Asia-Pacific.
“We have always been embracing the game developer community. But now, we have realised that gaming is huge on BlackBerry, as opposed to what people may think ... it is the most revenue-earning category within our App World,” Annie Mathew, director — Alliances and Business Development, RIM India, told Business Standard.
RIM India on Wednesday organised Game Port-a-thon in Hyderabad, an event to bring together the game developer community, to help them create their vendor IDs, and on how to port, publish and monetise their game apps on the BlackBerry 10 platform.
Mathew said RIM, which has over 28,000 registered BlackBerry developers in India from less than 4,000 about two-and-a-half years ago, had opened up its BlackBerry 10 alpha SDK (software development kit) to the developer community.
“We had launched the BlackBerry 10 Alfa SDK around six months ago — eight months before the launch date. This is a huge thing, which has never happened before in RIM’s history. This move is to make sure that developers get equipped and have their apps ported and ready, post launch,” she said.
The Game Port-a-thon initiative was not a number game but was basically a viral mechanism, according to her.
Citing the example of SpiceLabs, whose game app Hangman’ had crossed 20 million downloads globally on BlackBerry alone a year-and-a-half ago, Mathew said while their App World would have some amount of indigenisation, including Ramayana-based games, where the Indian developers are seeing some opportunity, they predominantly were targeting the global audience.
“It is the standard revenue sharing model of 70:30 that works between the developer and BlackBerry. Developers typically charge $1 globally and Rs 37 in India per download,” she said, adding the company would initially roll out full-touch and Qwerty devices based on its soon-to-be-launched new operating system.