Will India Rule The Global Online Gaming Space by 2022? 

India is now the world’s fastest-growing mobile gaming market, growing at 22 percent annually,

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Tech and Auto
4 min read
Online Gaming is becoming continuously popular in India.
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India’s online gaming industry dates back to early 2000s when consoles and PC games including Counter Strike, Age of Empires, Silkroad, etc brought thousands of Indians on digital gaming platforms.

Since then, India has come a long way especially after the rise in internet penetration and increase in smartphone user base in the country.

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the desire to stay connected while being stuck at home brought millions of Indians to mobile online gaming platforms.

India’s online gaming industry is currently at its peak point after billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala filed for an IPO in the gaming space Nazara Technologies.

A report by Statista states that India recorded about 365 million online gamers in financial year 2020. This number was estimated to reach 510 million by fiscal year 2022.

India’s Gaming Industry to Touch $2.8 billion by 2022

India’s online gaming space currently stands at $290 million, however a report by Deloitte suggests that India’s market is poised to grow to $2.8 billion by 2023.

The Indian gaming space stands tall with 436 million gamers playing online games in 2021, compared to 365 million in 2020 and 300 million in 2019.

The rapid growth in the number of players is expected to strengthen the gaming industry by 4-5%.

Some of the factors responsible for this push are:

  • Local companies are expanding to develop India-centric games.
  • ‘Freemium’ model is expected to improve monetisation for developers in online gaming.
  • Comprehensive rise in digital payment user base.
  • Focus on development of content with local themes.

According to Google-KPMG, India is now the world’s fastest-growing mobile gaming market, growing at 22 percent annually.

‘COVID Pandemic Gave Online Gaming a Boost’

The study by Deloitte further pointed out that “COVID-19 has pushed the growth further as users latched on to online gaming platforms in absence of entertainment options during lockdown”.

Sharing his thoughts on this, Manav Sethi, Chief Marketing Officer, Octro, the fastest growing mobile gaming company in India with games like Teen Patti, and Indian Rummy told The Quint, “The online gaming industry is one of the few sectors that has not only survived but thrived during the pandemic. Recent reports have suggested that the pandemic has led to 45% of Indians playing games on their smartphones, with the lockdown leading to greater mobile usage and data consumption (InMobi report, 2021)”.

“COVID-19 has brought forward new gamers, who have disposable time and a lack of offline leisure options while staying at home. The industry expects to turn these first-time gamers into loyal players, which has already been the case internationally as seen in games like AmongUS, Fortnite, Roblox and Discord etc”.

Increase in Funds

Indian gaming industry is currently on a growing stage with lakhs of investors coming across from different states to build the online gaming space.

According to a data by YourStory Research , as many as $52.552 million was pumped in across 17 deals in 2019, and this shot up to $356.080 million across 20 deals in 2020 amid the pandemic. Within the first two months of 2021, over $106 million has been raised across three major deals.

Global vs Indian Gaming Market

Trends globally reveal that US has a per capita media and entertainment spend of $1860, which is nearly 8x of that in Malaysia, nearly 11x of that in Brazil,15x of that in China, and 98x of that in India, according to Google-KPMG.

This means that Indians only spend $18.97 dollars per capita as compared to other countries. Meanwhile, China is an exception, since gaming accounts for 14 percent of media and entertainment revenues. This clearly means that China is the largest gaming economy of the world.

“Globally gaming is already bigger than movies and music combined. Games like Roblox have already become a huge success where 3/4th of 9-12-year-olds in the US are already spending significant leisure hours on them. This is unprecedented in human history and history of gaming platforms globally,” Sethi told The Quint.

Meanwhile,India has a lot of catching up to do in creating leadership in mobile games beyond cards and casino categories or casual gaming for that matter.

“Our attempt at Octro’s latest title Soccer Battles is the first such step in that direction. With favourable regulations, India has potential to create games that can be taken to 200 markets and be localised in 20 languages”, he added.

Can India Become the Largest Gaming Economy?

What makes India different from these countries is that it has considerably younger population which is likely to create a large market for the gaming sector in the country.

According to KPMG, India’s 60 percent population is below the age of 35, makes it one of the largest potential markets for online gaming in terms of volume. Despite the younger population and large gaming base, most of the Indians spend very less money on games which is said to improve by 2021.

India can only become the largest global economy if more and more users spend money on games, contributing to the economy.

The survey by Google revealed that more than 25 percent gamers say that the availability of free alternatives is a barrier to popularity of paid games.

“From employment generation to FDI/Venture funding, the gaming industry has potential to create significant tax contributions and create a positive impact in life of both players and people in the value chain. But the burden of that growth has to be shared by the government in creating a favourable and predictable regulatory regime for all the players to grow basis their merits”
Manav Sethi, Chief Marketing Officer, Octro.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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