By Ankur Singh
India’s start-up ecosystem is rapidly rising to the top of the global economic ladder, fuelled by a dynamic community of entrepreneurs, a culture of innovation, and a widespread embrace of digital technology. With more than 100 unicorns currently valued at an astounding $340 billion, India now boasts the world’s third-largest start-up ecosystem, with much more growth expected to come.
Over the years, India’s gaming industry has experienced remarkable growth, primarily driven by factors such as the increased adoption of smartphones and other internet-enabled devices, higher disposable income, a shift in societal attitudes towards gaming, and a continuously expanding young population in the country.
Interestingly, the sector is leading the charge in 2023, with a promising start and the potential for a well-crafted regulatory framework that could help cultivate positive consumer sentiment towards online skill-based gaming. Several trends are driving the explosive growth of the gaming industry, including a unique intersection between skill and entertainment, the emergence of gaming as a legitimate profession, and a growing interest in the sector as a lucrative career path.
As online gaming continues to gain popularity in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, with a widening user base, the emergence of more women leaders in the gaming industry is an exciting development to watch.
Impact of tech advances on the industry
With tech-driven solutions and localised approach taking the centre stage in fanning the flames of the sector’s popularity pan-India, emerging startups are providing promising gaming creators access to user-friendly tools for streaming and content editing while on the move. These tools can turn intricate tasks, such as editing gameplay videos, managing live streams, and creating polished videos with layered effects and voiceovers, as effortless as posting a picture on social media. Consequently, this enables the creators to focus on refining their strategies to generate more enriching content for their audience and monitoring and expanding their user engagement.
To further drive the growth of the Indian gaming industry, a constantly changing technology landscape is expected to incorporate emerging technologies, including machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, and blockchain, among others.
Notably, the imminent mass market rollout of 5G internet, in combination with other factors, is expected to further boost the adoption, popularity, and growth of gaming in India. As 5G technology becomes more widely adopted, an increasing number of individuals will have access to seamless and ultra-fast gaming experiences.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies will be employed to offer top-notch user experiences. With the expansion of the gaming industry, businesses will discover how to deliver user experiences on a large scale while utilizing an optimized cloud infrastructure. In addition, the popularity of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) gaming is expected to rise.
As a result of these unique tailwinds, the gaming sector is projected to experience a nearly fourfold increase and reach a staggering $8.6 billion market value by 2027. In the forthcoming years, achieving the goal of producing top-quality gaming content will depend heavily on the development of indigenous tech-driven platforms.
Infusing capital not only ensures adequate resources for start-ups but also attracts a pool of talented individuals to the gaming ecosystem, driving innovation and entrepreneurship.
The growth prospects of the online gaming industry are highly attractive for investors, as evidenced by the sector’s impressive performance in recent years. As per estimations, India’s gaming industry has received investments worth $350 million from venture capital firms between 2014 and early 2020. A recent report by investment banking platform Maple Capital Advisors highlights that gaming start-ups in India have secured $1.6 billion in investments in just nine months until September 2021, surpassing the total value of investments made in the sector over the past five years.
As the online gaming industry continues its upward trajectory, marquee venture capitalists and large corporations will continue to pour significant funds into gaming start-ups to capitalize on emerging opportunities and maximize their profits.
As more Indian gamers take up gaming as a serious profession, gaming start-ups will be investing in developing cutting-edge tech solutions to meet the demands of an increasingly discerning user base. These innovative solutions will range from improved mobile gaming experiences to sophisticated virtual and augmented reality games that blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds.
Amidst this, establishing a strong, well-organized, and consistent regulatory environment is crucial for India to address current challenges. Through the implementation of a succinct and comprehensive legal and regulatory framework, the government has the potential to not only augment revenue but also galvanize foreign investment in Indian game development studios, thereby offering an unparalleled, all-encompassing enhancement to the sector.
The author is the founder and CEO of Witzeal Technologies.