Educational and Islamic Game, Huge Market In Indonesia But Difficult to Monetize

By Arya Wibowo

At the soft launching of Agate’s new game, Game Anak Sholeh, GamePrime.asia talked about the emerging potential of educational and religious games in Indonesian market, and the challenge behind it.

At the soft launching of Agate’s new game, Game Anak Sholeh, gameprime.asia talked about the emerging potential of educational and religious games in the Indonesian market, and the challenge behind it.

It looks like, in recent years, educational and Islamic games are on the rise. There were actually some prominent developers who have developed educational games in Indonesian, such as Educa Studio and Arsa Kids. Recently, Touchten also released an Islamic game called Kartu Muslim (Moslem card).

Last week, 20 September 2017, Agate just released their new game Game Anak Sholeh (Game for Pious Children, more or less), which they call a “one-stop solution for Islamic education for children”. It is available for free, but have the subscription option to unlock all features in the game at any time.

The game has a story mode that will guide children about Islamic values and rituals. It also has additional features like mini-games, encyclopedia, and more. The story mode itself is written by professional writers who have specialization in Islamic topics.

The most interesting part is Game Anak Sholeh really emphasizes on parents’ role. Game Anak Sholeh comes with an app for parents. This complementary app will act as notes to parents, reporting their child’s progress and stimulates discussion and interaction between parents and the child.

islamic games

Not only that, it also comes with physical books. The purpose of these books is to minimize children’s screen time. We know that excessive screen time, the duration children looking at the screen of a gadget, will have negative effects on children’s mental and physical health. The game will also alert children and parents if they already played for more than an hour.

In this soft launch, Agate invited some speakers from ICT watch and a psychologist. They shared about the positive and negative effects of games, and how to negate the negative effects.

It is interesting that more and more prominent developers from Indonesia start to delve into this genre.

On why Agate follows suit, Arif Setyawan, Marketing for Game Anak Sholeh said, “Educational games are moving from complementary tools to become the main need for parents nowadays. In the US, there’s ABC Games and other developers that have become market leaders for educational contents, replacing non-digitalized contents.”

“And Islamic games, as the biggest Moslem population in the world, the need for interactive media in teaching about the religion is different from our time when there were still many afternoon Islamic lessons. It’s getting scarce right now, especially with more working moms. So that’s why we need to make an integrated game to deliver them all,” he added.

Tricky Way to Monetize in Educational and Islamic Games

islamic games

We can not deny that gadgets are penetrating into our daily life so fast. It also affects children; more and more children know how to operate tablets or smartphones to at least stream YouTube, download games from app stores, and play them themselves.

With that in mind, it’s easy to conclude that the market for children is very huge, especially with the rise of working moms. Thus with its huge market, the business potential is as big.

But Wiradeva Arief, one of Agate co-founder, stated it is not as easy as it seems. He said that it is very difficult to monetize in educational games genre. The reasons are parents inclined to ban in-app purchase when children play games. Ads-wise, it is difficult to filter ads that are not harmful to children. There are lots of ads that aren’t suitable for kids.

islamic games

He stated educational games only raked less than US$12 million. So from almost US$900 million game market in Indonesia, it is only a mere 1.3 percent. In fact, educational games have a competitive number of downloads compared to other genres.

So with this game, they’re trying to experiment with a new model of marketing. With the physical bundle, they want to try a new way of selling their games, which is direct selling. They are open for agents that can sell their games to parents, especially moms.

There are point based bonuses for the agents that can be traded with many kinds of rewards, including a pilgrimage trip (umrah) to Moslem Holy Lands.

“But it is definitely not an MLM scheme,” Arif Setyawan laughed.

With this kind of business model, Agate hopes it can monetize more from this genre.

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A Way to Take Over Local Market

islamic games


Most of Indonesians love to play free games; that is a fact. With that in mind, Agate doesn’t really take away the free contents out of this game. You can still play the game with its full contents. The catch is, there are some limitations. Children can only play certain mini-games per day. Parents also have to share the game to their social media to continue the story, and so on.

The important thing is there are no ads at all. So Game Anak Sholeh will be fully safe for children to play because there is no risk of external content and unsuitable ads.

Wiradeva stated in his presentation that religious and educational games are one way for Indonesian game developers to take over local market.

Arif Setyawan elaborated the statement, he said,”We hope our game can be the master in its own country. Nobody can make a very Indonesian content but our own developers. So the first step is to raise the quality of existing educational games.”

“Second step to take over the market is to abolish the negative stigma of games. That’s why educational games are important. Agate’s agenda is to educate the market and the main gate is from educational games. Introducing them to parents and at the same time, we counter negative contents from children,” Arif added.

It seems that Agate wants to nurture its future market from the root, which is parents and children. When parents’ mind are opened from the positive effects of games and know how to negate the negative effects, Agate believes that Indonesian market is ripe for the taking.

Agate plans to grand launch Game Anak Sholeh later this year. While you can play the game in beta version right now by downloading it from Google Play Store, the full version will have more features. Agate is also looking to secure partnerships with schools in the future.

Download Game Anak Sholeh Beta: Android

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About Writer

Arya is a gamer dad, boardgame geek, and game industry enthusiast. He loves strategy games and soccer games.