By Sunil Yadav
The online gaming industry has undergone a sea-change. It is gradually emerging as a promising bet driven by increased consumer participation, engagement, and subscriptions. Steered by the convergence of new technologies, internet penetration, and an increase in the number of mobile users – the industry has witnessed rapid development and unprecedented transformations.
The stay-at-home diktat opened doors into a whole new world for a huge cross-section of the Indian populace. While the pandemic-induced lockdown imposed many restrictions on on-ground sports – it also compelled people to stay indoors and look for entertainment activities on the internet, helping the virtual gaming industry grow. The past two years have also witnessed a widening of the audience base with the induction of women, older individuals, kids, and so on into the online gaming community.
In India, the mobile gaming industry is expected to triple to a $5 billion market opportunity by 2025 with an over 300 million user base. And as we look towards 2022, here are a few tips and tricks that can hold us in good stead!
Building an Ecosystem of Gamers
Forward-thinking game publishers and developers are beginning to recognise that building strong communities around their games is critical to market success. Many are transforming their games from standalone products to service-based platforms where players can interact and be entertained.
With more eyeballs glued to games than ever before, video game live streaming is expected to cause an unprecedented surge in the digital landscape. By roping in prominent streamers and influencers, companies are thriving on the high engagement levels created via real-time content.
As players begin to understand the game across different formats, the industry is giving rise to more opportunities to monetise this growing audience base. Well on its way to become the new media, the coming year will see the gaming industry create revenue streams that leverage this engagement.
Innovative paths to monetisation
Gaming companies today are increasingly looking to diversify their monetisation avenues beyond upfront retail sales. 2022 will witness an increase in gamers being offered real-world rewards in the form of vouchers, coupons, gadgets, etc.
Cryptocurrency is the next big thing for the real-money game category. As it transforms the way we think and use money, NFT games in India have quickly gained widespread adoption in the gaming industry and are showing no signs of slowing down. They, after all, enable the gamer to generate an income, giving them a sense of ownership something traditional games do not.
Gaming grows in tandem with other mediums of entertainment
Branding to play an important role
Online gaming platforms are once again all set to make big advertising splashes as the year brings with it two of the biggest cricket tournaments – IPL and the T20 World Cup. Branding will come to the fore in their marketing calendar as they look to cement their position in the gaming landscape during this time. The spends will instead go towards proven digital properties that include social media marketing, influencer marketing and outreach programs. Collaboration will gain more prominence in the year to come as gaming influencers continue to successfully tap into a new and expanding audience. Finding the right influencers to follow and to build up trust may take time, but once that relationship is there, it’s everlasting.
Create safe spaces for women gamers
Female gamers are transforming the gaming landscape in India. According to the ‘Think with Google APAC – Play like a Girl’ survey, nearly 52% of India’s women gamers live in the metros, while 29% live in small towns. Despite the growing numbers, online gaming at many times drives women away because of the online sexual harassment that they face. This is what makes women invisible in the gaming community as they then play incognito, pretend to be male or choose to say nothing to avoid harassment.
Going into the new year, this hostility must make way for an inclusive environment that makes women feel welcome to do what they do best – gaming. As more games and companies showcase female protagonists who are represented better, 2022 will give rise to a trend within gaming as women feel like equals.
The author is CEO of PlayerzPot. Views expressed are personal.