April 3-2020
Amid Covid19 outbreak: Online gaming platforms growth rate may surpass expected 2020 business mark

Amidst nationwide lockdown due to the threat of Covid19, folks around the world are spending most of their time inside homes playing video games in order to deal with the boredom induced by the curfew.Given the scenario, online gaming companies in India witnessed a rise in the number of users flooding their platforms along with a surge in the number of hours Indian users spend playing games online.

As the screen time is going through the roof, online gaming industry is witnessing accelerated growth across the globe. Especially platforms which are having a variety of gaming options have seen an upward trend.

For example, WinZO  which is a vernacular social gaming platform hosting multiple games has witnessed a spike of 30 per cent in tier-1 traffic during the earlier days. WinZO was previously a T2-T5 focused product (with 12 regional languages on its platform) whereas currently they are organically attracting players from T1 India despite the fact that product has not been marketed to the audiences this way.  Notably, there are substantial amounts of users coming from Hindi speaking belt (UP, Bihar, MP, Delhi, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh)

Here are the growth statistics that WinZo have released on their platform (half month through lockdown) so far:

  • The game plays by women on the platform has grown 1.5x especially for games like candy crush and cooking competition games.
  • Activity on the social features of the app such as video and audio usage during gameplay has also doubled.
  • Similarly, Vs-Mode on our app has observed a 35 per cent spike considering people are playing with their friends online amid the lockdown.
  • Multiplayer games like- Carrom, Ludo, and Battle Royal, where people are playing these games in private modes (Vs-Mode, private tournaments) with their friends and family online- the game play between friends has gone up by 2 times, earlier people played with strangers more- to find and connect with more people outside their circles.
  • We have observed a surge in casual games like- Bubble Shooter, Knife Up, Subway Surfer on a platform especially as female audiences (1.5x) are picking on games.
  • Our 60 per cent TG is 18 to 25, mostly males. However, amid the lockdown, an increase in users from the age group of 25 to 35 is noticed with a marginal increase of female traffic as well.
  • Now the audience are piercing from the deeper parts of India playing from low-end devices and  20 per  cent making their first digital media and entertainment payment on WinZO.

Pocket League’s co-founder Karan Khairajani

Due to the nationwide lockdown, people have more time on their hands and they are quenching their thrill with a variety of gaming content which has led gaming platforms grow by leaps and bounds over the past week. Hyper casual gaming platform Pocket League has also “seen an uptick in the number of organic installs and also the average time spent per day in our app. An interesting thing on Pocket League that we have seen over the past two weeks is that each player is trying out almost all the games on the platform (we currently have seven games),” said Firescore Interactive co-founder and Pocket League’s co-founder Karan Khairajani.

Multiple games with diversity of content is attracting more users as players are spoilt for choice. Not only that, the nationwide lockdown has witnessed an increase in hours spent by users as  Khairajani said, “Generally we see that the majority of activity is happening post office hours, but nowadays, all contests are getting filled up throughout the whole day. From a user acquisition perspective, we are seeing lower CPIs as well.”

Other platforms like Paytm First Games, 9stacks, Adda52 and Hello Play have witnessed an uptick in downloads reportedly even during lockdown . FICCI EY report for the M&E sector suggests that the online gaming segment grew 40 per cent in 2019 to reach Rs. 65 billion and is expected to reach Rs187 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 43 per cent but the nationwide lockdown seems will push to achieve the expected numbers earlier.