Skill based gaming is growing exponentially and including more & more users in its fold. The demographics highlight a rather diverse cross section from different age groups as consumers of online gaming. This burgeoning expanse of the market, which was once in a nascent stage has now sprawled to encompass over 300 online gaming startups. The Indian online gaming scenario is at an inflexion point, a realm that is fast transforming and presents itself as a wonderful opportunity for greater consolidation amongst the players through mergers and acquisitions & amalgamations.
The online gaming market is not only increasingly attracting VC investments but is also presenting itself as a very strong employment avenue. This is largely attributable to the Increasing mobile penetration and high usage that has brought about a surge in mobile gaming in India, where the average mobile device user spends 3-4 hours every day watching OTT, playing games and music or on online shopping. According to a KPMG-Google report published in May 2017, the Indian online gaming industry will add 190 million gamers and is poised to become a USD one billion opportunity by 2021 from the current USD 290 million, however, the space has surpassed all such projections with the let alone valuation of Dream11 surpassed USD 1 Billion early this year. This upsurge will create immense opportunities in the gaming ecosystem, employment generation, entertainment, engagement and market growth.
The online gaming industry has been attracting VC funding, with Venture Capital flowing in, Indian startups are finding it much easier to upgrade their service offerings, introducing newer formats in the domain while there is implementation of newer emerging paradigms in technology infusion, in form of AR & VR and AI. In addition, the gaming industry is also providing ample opportunity to passionate gamers, turning to skill-based gaming as an alternate career choice and the industry is also providing opportunity to a large number of top talent from development and designing disciplines.
India is among the largest potential markets for online gaming. Today, around 60 per cent of Internet population of India playing online games and spending 45 minutes every day. It would be a multi-billion-dollar opportunity as different ventures opt different ways to monetize this engagement powerhouse.
Opportunity across smaller markets
Today, all the apps focusing on the Indian market are building capabilities to reach the masses through personalized content in regional languages. Gaming in regional languages is still a fresh idea, but it has become a vital strategy to reach out to consumers. More and more players are taking up gaming professionally, incorporating regional languages into their apps and platforms is helping developers drive adoption and expand their customer base.
Gaming players like WinZO are bringing social play and ‘Skill Game’ experience across more broad-based genres such as casual and multiplayer gaming experience in the hands of first-time smartphone users in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets in regional languages like Hindi, Punjabi, Kannada, Bengali and Gujarati. Online gaming has become one of the most important segments of entertainment in the country today, and according to a report by Nasscom, India’s mobile games market is expected to reach 628 million users.
A gradual shift from entertainment to Esports
India is the fastest growing entertainment and media market globally, and is expected to maintain that momentum, according to a recent PwC report on Entertainment and Media Outlook. It also states that in the next five years India will see significant growth in over-the-top (OTT), online gaming and Internet advertising. Online gaming has evolved over the years, donning a new hat in form of E-sports, not only becoming more realistic and engrossing but also making a possible foray in the 2024 Paris Olympics as a demonstration sport. The E-sports market is a huge draw and is burgeoning; according to the Newzoo Global Esports Market Report 2019, revenues from E-sports are expected to surpass US$1 billion for the first time this year, with the global audience exceeding 450 million. With improving infrastructure India is poised to move into the top 10 global gaming markets by consumer revenue by 2023.
Leapfrogging on the growth momentum
India is one of the fastest growing gaming markets globally, and gaming enthusiasts are no longer limited to Tier I cities. Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets have contributed significantly, triggered by the wave of affordability and better connectivity.
With a bolstering internet penetration at affordable rates, India is witnessing an ensemble of millennials from smaller cities and towns, in turn creating an array of new markets with a huge need for vernacular content. Over the past few years, this boom in affordable and faster internet, along with increasingly affordable smartphones has tantamounted to better reach and engagement. Apart from this, performance and technology innovation are also two of the biggest factors driving gaming today. Similarly, gaming content is changing and growing with personalized and local content. Gaming is helping people build relationships and make friends online, empowering them in a way that has not been possible before.
Today, a career in gaming has become a mainstream career option for youth and they are not shying away from it. In the last decade or so, there has been growing demand for professionals in this field, from data scientists and programmers to designers, audio engineers, gaming app developers and, lately, consumer behavior experts. There are many more exciting jobs emerging, which are not just about being in front of the screen but about developing the whole gaming ecosystem behind gaming screens and in the cloud.