Video Games have been around in India for years now, but it was never really an industry that took the nation by storm until 2018. India has always been one of those markets for global developers where there was a massive potential market that could tapped, but one that wasn’t going to generate an income like how other nations did. But now, that’s changing and its adapting fast. Developers, Investors and other players in the industry have taken notice of the change that India is undergoing. With the increase in the smartphone penetration and data availability, higher disposable income and willingness of millennials to spend on games, new monetization models, the potential that the Indian Digital Gaming Industry holds is only growing bigger.
Gaming as an industry was mostly seen as entertainment for hardcore gamers until the introduction of casual games for the casual user with a smartphone and some time to kill. When you add competition to the mix the whole game changes, giving rise to the massive potential that can be unlocked. According to Statista, the market value of mobile gaming in India is estimated to reach about 405 million U.S. dollars by 2022. The number of mobile phone gamers will be around 628 million by 2020 according to the forecast. With 2018 seeing a massive spike in the number of gamers, it would be no surprise if the estimated numbers were breached by far.
Gamers will Evolve
Just like in games where players upgrade their characters to unlock new powers and abilities. Casual players are expected to evolve in to mid-core or even hard-core gamers. While the introduction of Ludo unlocked a massive casual gaming market, PUBG tapped a whole new level of serious gamers when they introduced a console game on mobile.
Increased Longevity of Games is the key
Just like in a game, a gamer has a lifespan before they run out of unique content on your game or find another to keep them entertained. The key to not having to deal with this problem with your players is building a game that is sustainable with a product roadmap of features that is going to keep your players hooked. A 2018 survey report conducted by JetSynthesys revealed that 56% of the players played a game that they liked for at least 3 months, while 44% kept it for more than 6 months proving that gamers had a clear idea on what content they wanted to engage with. This makes it more crucial for developers to develop games with the longevity of the game in mind by design.
Social Games will rule
In a country like India with a massive population, a following is not very difficult to build. If a game can build a community of gamers to engage in the game and help their game progression by interacting with other people online, the game is bound to be an instant hit. One of the prime reasons for PUBG’s success in India is its social factor where people can voice chat with their friends during a game and continue to engage in an intense game session. Multiplayer and PvP games will continue to rule in 2019.
Gaming Supported Hardware – Key Criteria
When it comes to choosing a smartphone, gaming is going to play a key role in consumer preference. With an increase in smartphone penetration and the number of serious gamers, the math is easy for manufacturers. In the last couple of years, smartphones have become gamers paradise all over the world. High-end phones like iPhone X, Google pixel XL, Sony Xperia Z, Samsung galaxy series have excellent features in terms of display, RAM, processor etc. enhancing gameplay experience. Budget phones released this year like POCO F1, OnePlus 6 series and Vivo V11 pro have boded well with Indian gamers giving best possible gameplay experience at reasonable prices. These phones support high-end graphics games adapted from consoles without compromising on quality. Their processors snapdragon 845 (Qualcomm) and bionic (iOS) improve the efficiency of the phone helping in engaged gameplay. The battery life of these phones has also seen improvement giving longer gameplay duration.
E-Sports is all set to Grow
In India, a country where the internet and mobile adoption is increasing, several companies have identified the potential that a massively populated country holds for eSports, both talent and revenue stream wise. The 1.3 billion population holds massive potential not only because of its volumes but because of its median age of 28, compared to 38 in America. With an estimated two million enthusiasts and two million ‘occasional viewers’, the Indian audience for e-sports is small compared to the global average but is expected to grow more than fivefold by 2021, according to a report titled, ‘Industry Insights for Online and Mobile Gaming in India’ by Frost and Sullivan, January 2018.
With the Olympics in sight Companies and event organizers have gotten together to provide the right platform for potential gamers to compete in local tournaments in major cities to identify, train, form teams to be ready for representing them in major gaming leagues and the Olympics, there on.
Dream Hack, the World’s Largest Gaming Festival made its way to India for the first time this year and is all set for its debut on Dec 21st in the entertainment capital at Mumbai this year. The event has a host of games across PC, console and mobile where individual players and teams can compete to win big prize pools of cash. It would be interesting to see how this sets the tone for E-Sports in India in the years to come.
To sum it all up, 2018 has been the biggest year in Gaming till date and it has miles of potential it can achieve in 2019. A successful 2019 would mean, more games, more gamers, large communities, big stage competitions and gaming events, new affordable technologies and clever monetization by companies.
(The author is the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of JetSynthesys – a leading digital entertainment and gaming company. It innovated and pioneered celebrity gaming with a catalog of over 300 exciting games across HTML, Java, Android and iOS platforms featuring eminent stars like Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and others.)