Introduction to Future of Online Gaming
With 53.66% of the country’s population using the Internet, the online gaming industry is becoming popular among its youth and is setting new benchmarks.
The late ’80s and early ’90s were the times when new gaming consoles rushed through Indian markets. It didn’t take long for board games such as Chess, Ludo, and Snakes and Ladders to lose their sheen.
Young millennials were glued to their screens, playing Mario and Contra for hours together. The craze was at another level altogether.
The Jio Revolution
With time, these first-generation games came out with many more updates that were accepted by the gaming audience with open arms.
Then in 2016, with the Jio revolution, things changed forever. The number of online users boomed. Digital companies sprouted across the nation’s length and breadth, ready to turn this opportunity into a money-minting machine.
Google Play Store and Apple App Store were flooded with games that have been liked by Indians for ages. Games like PUBG, Counter-Strike, and DOTA became hugely popular, and people spent hours playing it.
The COVID-19 impact
The online gaming portal subscribers were increasing at a fast pace. Then in March 2020, the country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that changed the online gaming scenario forever.
Although the virus had brought the country to a standstill, it had been a blessing in disguise for gamers and game creators alike.
In the past 7 months, there has been a surge in gaming consoles — Sony Playstations, Microsoft XBOX — and online gaming portals like Steam and Epic Games.
But the highest surge has been seen in mobile gaming platforms. The following table by SensorTower shows the most downloaded games in August.
Mobile gaming downloads have seen an 87% upsurge in 2020, and industry pundits expect revenues to reach $1.1 billion this year.
The Lockdown effect
The growth story of online gaming has just begun. When people are working from home, they are using their free time to play with their friends, peers, and family.
Other forms of entertainment and leisure — including visits to spas or hotels, watching films in theaters, touring a new place, etc. — cannot be done because of the lockdown.
The lockdown has unknowingly given rise to online gaming, and reports and forecasts predict that the trend will continue rising even after the world becomes normal.
Thus, it’s high time that companies turn their attention towards India as it has the second-highest number of internet users globally, and the number will only increase.
Some companies like Ubisoft have realized the potential. Its Mumbai and Pune studios are jointly developing a remake of the classic 2003 game “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.” India, which is widely known for developing top-class mobile games, will also make a mark in the world of high-end console game development.
The rise of Fantasy Sports
Meanwhile, fantasy sports are also setting new benchmarks. Websites such as PlayerzPot.com allow players to form a team and win numerous rewards in games like Cricket, Hockey, Rummy, and Kabaddi from the comfort of their home.
The userbase for fantasy gaming in India has grown from 20 million in 2017 to more than 50 million in 2020. Reports suggest that fantasy gaming will increase its revenue to more than $5 billion in the next 2 years.
Cricket is the most popular segment in fantasy gaming, as about 85% of total users play the game. But due to intense competition, the chances of winning are less.
Thus, gamers are venturing into other games like basketball and football to increase their chances of winning. Today, there are more than 60 fantasy gaming platforms in India, out of which Dream 11 is the most popular.
The below chart shows the exponential growth of fantasy sports in India.
Development of Localized Content
One of the reasons why online gaming is rising in India is that creators are delivering localized content. When you browse through Web app stores, you find games like Teen Patti, Indian Rummy, Andar Bahar, etc. grab gamers’ and venture capitalists’ attention.
The world’s largest youth population
The following graph will show you how the number of online gamers is expected to rise in the following years.
About 60% of India’s gamers lie in the 18-24 age group. And since younger people have a higher tendency towards playing online games, the forecasts expect a stark rise in their count.
The graph shows that the number of online gamers in India is expected to rise to 440 million by 2022. (100 million more than the population of the United States).
The ever-growing IT sector
The IT sector has been rising unabated since the dawn of the new millennia. India has now become a popular choice for backend development for gaming companies.
The following world-renowned gaming companies are already present or venturing into India:
- Ubisoft runs two development studios in India — Pune, and Mumbai.
- Rockstar Games acquired Dhruva interactive in 2019.
- PayTM and AGTech Holdings run a Gamepind in Noida since 2018.
- Baazi Games is looking to invest $5 million in the Indian gaming market in 2020.
- Indian gaming companies like Octro and Moonfrog have received investments from leading venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital.
There are a plethora of game-development institutes in India that graduate hundreds of thousands of students every year.
The future of online gaming in India is bright. It will create millions of jobs and also maximize the revenue of the government.
Nishant Joshi likes to read and write on technologies that form the bedrock of the modern-day and age like Web Apps, machine learning, data science, AI, and robotics.
His expertise in content marketing has helped grow countless business opportunities. Nishant works for Sage Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a leading provider of CRM and ERP systems to small and mid-sized businesses in India.