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MOVIE and CRICKET MANIA reaches Mobiles

March 2007
MOVIE and CRICKET MANIA reaches Mobiles

India's decade-old mobile revolution shows no signs of slowing down. The number of users, already more than 130 million, continues to increase at a scorching pace. Last year's growth over 2005, for example, was a stunning 80 percent. So inevitably, here comes a film—or, more accurately, 10 films—that can be downloaded by cell phone users. Titled Dus Kahaniyan, it consists of ten stand-alone segments, each of which is 10 to 20 minutes long. Meanwhile, mobile games based on Bollywood films have already hit the shelves. And a nationwide gaming expo was held in Delhi just last month. "SKOAR! 2007 has brought together the cr�me de la cr�me of game publishers, game developers, gaming and hardware companies, production houses and animation institutes, all converging towards one cause—to spread awareness about gaming in a country where it is still at a nascent stage," the organizers state. Nascent it may be, but the mobile gaming fever is spreading rapidly. According to Zinnov, an American consultancy, a 118 percent growth in India over the next few years will result in 78.6 million players by 2009. Later this year, Microsoft will introduce cricket buffs to a mobile game endorsed by Yuvraj Singh.

Cricket's far-reaching popularity, incidentally, shows how quickly the world has been shrinking in recent years. For a long time, fans in non-cricket-playing countries had to make do with outdated newspapers and commentaries on short-wave radio. Then came the Internet and satellite television, followed by cell phones. The Wisden Group's Cricinfo, a highly rated cricket website launched in '93, provides detailed coverage of all the Test and ODI (one-day international) matches around the world. Regarded as the ultimate online source for buffs, Cricinfo gets as many as 7 million users every month. It provides "in-depth statistics on everyone of the 3000 international and 45,000 first class cricketers to have played the game." Now there is also an India-based print magazine called Cricinfo, edited by Sambit Bal. But most excitingly, perhaps, one can watch live action even when there is no match feed on TV. Special animation software recreates the experience with the help of 3-D simulated players. As a bonus, the viewer can act as the cameraman and adjust the angle while the game is in progress. Also worth mentioning is a mobile cricket game (Trivia Champ) that Cricinfo released last year. Using just a cell phone, one can compete with many other participants and, at the same time, monitor the results.

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