The booming gaming sector has also attracted a large number of startups, that are further propelling the market growth
By Nitesh Salvi
If you’re a millennial, you’ll see that the gaming industry is not what it used to be. Gone are the days when bulky consoles were the only way to enjoy video games. India is moving forward at lightning speed, witnessing a surge in the number of people who are going digital in most aspects. It seems that the only path to transformation is diving into the digital world, which is evident in all gaming. The following research was conducted to shed light on factors that are influencing this shift in the acceptance of digital games.
Internet penetration and accessibility
Thanks to affordable data rates and deep internet penetration, the world wide web is now available at our fingertips. Today, an average Indian consumes approx. 11 GB of data per month. And anyone wanting to play a game online can do so at a whim. The ease of access saw that the international gaming market was valued at $151.55 billion in 2019. A figure that is expected to reach a value of $256.97 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 9.17% over the forecast period (2020-25).
The booming gaming sector has also attracted a large number of startups, that are further propelling the market growth. With a steady increase in the use of smartphones, consoles, and cloud penetration, the digital gaming market continues to show its growth potential.
Technology development and affordability
With such advancement in technology and the affordable price of smartphones, it has led to a surge in gamers. On average, a smartphone user spends 15% of his/her time playing online games. With so much time spent on our phones, mobile gaming is all set to dominate 59% of the global video game market by 2021. It is the largest segment, accounting for US$68.5 billion of the total estimated revenue this year, which is up by 10.2% from 2018.
Real-time, multiplayer games around the world
The Online Poker Industry in India is currently worth Rs 400 crore, which can be credited to the digital advancement in the segment. It has more than 3 million active poker players in India alone, with the number of users growing at the rate of 30 to 40% annually. Many gaming companies have taken the opportunity to launch online poker platforms wherein users can play with people across the globe.
Real-money gaming came into the picture
As more platforms provide secure payment features, it has become user-friendly, and safe while transacting on such platforms as they are equipped to provide proper encryptions to secure data. Today, the Real Money Gaming (RMG) online market in India is estimated to be around Rs. 2,200 crore and is looking at a growth rate of 30%per annum. The calculated CAGR for the last three years for card-based games, based on a change in revenue, is 67.58% generating a total revenue of about 730 crores in 2016-17 and Fantasy Sports has grown by 199.69% generating a total revenue of about 67 crores in 2016-17.
Better gaming experience
One can’t argue that the sound, graphics, gameplay, etc. have changed beyond comparison over the years. As we move towards the digitally powered future, our devices are also getting more high-tech with advanced graphic and sound systems that come together to create a better gaming experience.
Cost-efficient source of entertainment
The emergence of 4G mobile services, coupled with the increasing production of games, means that the gaming industry in India is anticipated to grow significantly in the future. With a 47% growth in smartphone users and rapid changes in the gaming industry, it’s only logical that there will be new business and employment opportunities for developers, publishers as well as technology partners, in turn boosting the market growth.
After the first lockdown was imposed, mobile gaming saw a spike in users as it provided a way for people to socialize and connect in a fun but safe way. As theaters, malls, cafes, and other public centers shut their doors, home entertainment became the only option. Thus, the video game business grew larger than both the movie and music industries combined, making it a big player in entertainment. According to KPMG, the online gaming industry in India showed an estimate of Rs 4,380 crore (FY18), which is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22.1% to touch Rs 11,880 crore by FY2023. Within this growth, the online card game segment is growing at 35-40% annually.
As the acceptance of online games has been mainstream, users’ preferences are also changing. The following are some preferences taking center stage with users:
- The sheer number and choices made available in today’s gaming world, means, players now look for the best UI/UX and the smoothest gaming experience that is available.
- Fast, action-packed, adventures have become one of the most preferred games.
- Reward points don’t cut it anymore. People want real money in exchange for their efforts and many don’t mind shelling out deposits or in-game purchases.
- For some, games are a source of entertainment but, many others are taking it to the next level by playing games like poker professionally, that offer real money payouts.
- Players have begun to love personalized avatars and skins.
- There is a strong inclination towards more challenging, skill-based games like poker over regular fun/leisure games.
All being said, one thing is certain – The face of gaming is changing as we speak and will never be the same. Whatever your likes or dislikes may be, technology has ensured that there is a game out there that’s exactly what you are looking for.
The author is Founder and CEO of Pocket52