By Ankur Singh
With the introduction of low-tier and mid-tier smartphones in the market and the various data packs available at throwaway prices, online gaming is no longer a luxurious pursuit for most online gamers in India. Multiple research reports have unveiled that the increased availability of affordable smartphones coupled with high-speed internet has prompted many people to take up gaming across small cities and towns in India.
India’s gaming market which is currently generating $1.5 billion in revenue, is expected to triple to over $5 billion by 2025 on the back of the ‘mobile first’ phenomenon.
But, the exciting part of it all is that it’s just the start.
Seeing its popularity rise among the masses, the Indian gaming industry is harnessing the latest technologies, software, and gadgets to make it even more immersive and widespread. For instance, vernacular content and localised gaming interfaces are making online gaming popular even in tier-2 and tier-3 cities of the country. Online games are now equipped with video chat features that allow gamers to interact and participate in games through live video and real-time chat.
Some popular online games have even earned the reputation of being mainstream entertainment and a social media alternative.
In the forthcoming years, the advent of 5G data networks in India will drive this momentum even further and enhance gaming experiences with technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). As the gaming craze kicks into high gear, avid gamers are now looking for a gainful entertainment experience. Due to this, another important factor that will continue to transform the industry is the availability of a variety of secured online payment options that have allowed gamers to play both free-to-play and pay-to-earn formats.
Not limited to just cash prizes, the emerging gaming studios in India are also creating more opportunities in non-conventional sectors such as tech-oriented careers within IT and game development. Lockdowns and social distancing during the global outbreak of Covid-19 saw an increasing number of people turn their passion for gaming into a full-time career.
While online gaming helps earn money and provide entertainment, gamers have revealed that it also helps develop life skills. A recent research also found that online gamers gained varied skills such as critical thinking, creative thinking, decision making and problem-solving skills that are essential for one’s growth in life. From the research participants, about 40% of men and 34% of women believe that more than half of online gaming skills are useful for real-life experiences. Interestingly, gamers also revealed that they exhibited a more favourable attitude towards their online gaming teammates in comparison to their real-life work relationships.
With the Indian gaming ecosystem evolving at a rapid pace, this lucrative industry is expected to scale to new heights in the future. To tap the immeasurable potential of the Indian gaming market, global investors have started acquiring and partnering with domestic companies to expand their geographic presence. As investors continue to back the sector, local companies are bound to scale up their operations and establish a wider presence in the coming years.
While the industry shows promise to grow exponentially, a uniform and transparent regulatory framework will further strengthen it. A discussion between the primary stakeholders of state and central governments, and the self-regulatory bodies of the online gaming industry can also help in devising a uniform regulatory framework that benefits all parties involved.
The presence of a government regulatory body that removes uncertainty will not just safeguard the interests of the online gaming industry but will also enhance its overall reputation.
In addition to the government-induced regulatory guidelines, and emerging technologies; talented professionals from diverse backgrounds will be key to the growth of the gaming industry’s unprecedented popularity in both rural as well as urban parts of the country.
The author is the CEO and founder of Witzeal Technologies