Evolution of Gaming in India

Roopak Nair, VP - Products & Marketing, Jet Synthesys JetSynthesys is Pune-head quartered IT Services company creating high quality digital products & platforms to cater to the daily needs of the Indian mobile marketplace. The company specializes in the areas of Digital Media Platforms, Software Development, Personalized Entertainment, Mobile Gaming, e-Commerce, Mobile VAS, and more.

Advent of Gaming in India
The advent of India’s online gaming industry can be dated back to early 2000s, when console and PC gaming brought several middle-income Indians on digital gaming platforms. Although the consumption was limited to a niche customer segment due to high cost of PCs and consoles, it underlined the potential of online gaming in India. On the PC, the gaming audience found their love in games like Call of Duty, FIFA, Counter Strike & Dota as the quality of these games developed in the Western markets, action centric and multiplayer themes attracted the young male gamer who had access to a PC and an internet connection.

During the mid-2000s, advent of social media introduced a large percentage of Indians across age, gender and socio-economic groups to online gaming. The online population started exploring, learning and sharing online games across social media platforms. Games like Farmville and Mafia Wars on Facebook made entry into the lives of millions of Indians who were playing these online games for the first time on social networks.

The Mobile Era Creates Gaming on the Go
Between 2010 and 2016, smartphones became the primary mode of internet usage, enabled by an increased internet penetration and volume of affordable devices. Today the top selling and affordable smart phones have high
processing power and graphics capabilities to run the best games and experience entertainment on the go.

Industry estimates peg online gamers at about 190 million who are consuming games across genres. The average gamer is a young male between 20 to 30 years who with rising income, increased smart phone penetration and digital payments has started making purchases in these games. The nature of games played in India has also gone through a radical shift as new gamers joined the ecosystem. Genres like Action, Adventure, Arcade, Card, Puzzle, Sports etc. are popular today with heavy gamers spending over 30 minutes every day playing games and casual gamers spending over 5 to 6 minutes with gaming daily on their mobile phones.

The online gaming sector is set to scale new heights with a 30 percent or higher wallet share expected in gaming from overall online entertainment spends

Game Discovery & New Technologies
The nature of how games are discovered have also undergone a shift from pre-loaded games on devices to app-based games downloaded through the app-stores to instant HTML games that are becoming popular without requiring to download the games on a device. With a growing local developer ecosystem that is set to cross over the 300 in the next couple of years, the local content in the market is set to rise considerably. Pokemon Go’s entry and mass appeal in India albeit for a short span of time and the Virtual Reality games that are becoming a great combination of physical and digital themes merging, are signs of how much potential this sector holds for new and emerging technologies.

Despite over a billion game downloads a year, the ARPU for gamer(s) remains at fractions of the developing and developed global counterparts with a very small percentage of paying users. With higher penetration of digital wallets and financial inclusion of the next 300 million Indians who will start making digital transactions, the online gaming sector is set to scale new heights with a 30 percent or higher wallet share expected in gaming from overall online entertainment spends.

Mobile e-Sports on the Rise
The future of gaming also promises to be really exciting with the advent of e-Sports in the country and local competitive gaming leagues in India which are seeing the interest of brands and consumers alike. Mobile e-Sports is also gathering steam with over 100,000 gamers gathering for the mobile e-Sports tournaments being hosted at the India Gaming Show in Bangalore this year, just showing what the future holds as a young India,online gaming consumption and social media trends merge to create a power packed consumption pattern that augurs well for the future of Indian gaming.