Samsung is encouraging developers to launch their games in the Indian market on Tizen. And to do so, it has launched the Tizen App Challenge, which offers monetary rewards for Unity developers who get real traction on the operating system.
Global partner manager Ravi Belwal said in an interview with GamesBeat that the contest is open to developers who have designed a game with Unity that has reached more than 10,000 installs worldwide in the Google Play or iOS app stores. The developer can port the existing app to Tizen, a multiplatform OS which is based on the Linux kernel, and start selling it in Samsung’s Tizen Store.
Samsung started launching Tizen-based smartphones early last year with the Z1 and later the Z3 devices. And it recently debuted the Samsung Z2, as a cheaper alternative to Android smartphones in the Indian market. For Tizen, India is the biggest market in terms of downloads, which companies monetize through ads. But direct consumer spending on games is almost non-existent.
“We think the market is ripe for games in India and we’d like to prove it,” Belwal said. “It’s an emerging market. This is the first time for us in trying to start a new market this way. Samsung has half the market in smartphones in India, and our growth rate is good.”
Over time, India is expected to be a good market because it is the No. 2 population in the world, behind China, and it has a growing middle class. Wi-Fi networking is free, and many homes have access to it. Most people don’t use land lines, making the potential for smartphones much bigger. This potential is one reason that Mark Skaggs, the co-creator of FarmVille and many social games at Zynga, decided to join a mobile game company in India, Moonfrog Labs.
The first 50 apps can get $3,000 U.S. each, and the entrant with the most popular app (attaining the highest number of Tizen Store installations) will win the grand prize of $20,000. Second place gets $10,000, and third place gets $5,000. The Tizen App Challenge for Unity developers runs until November 21, with a total of $185,000 in prizes up for grabs.
Those amounts may not seem like much, but in the Indian market, they can make the difference between making money or not in an emerging market, and could provide a lot of incentive for developers with good games to consider a market that they would never otherwise go after, Belwal said. The contest is consistent with Samsung’s approach to dealing with developers. Rather than funding developers, it finds a way to support the successful ones on its platform.
Since India is still in the early stages of market growth, these prize amounts are a significant boost for developers, Belwal said. Developers have to show that their game has been built with Unity and reached 10,000 downloads on Google Play and iOS. Then Samsung will send a confirmation email. The developers can then port their app to Tizen and register it in the Tizen Store.