A recent report by KPMG revealed that the number of online gamers expanded significantly from less than 250 million active players to 400 million active gamers as of mid-2020. It’s an industry that’s experiencing unprecedented growth of late. In 2019, the Indian gaming sector was worth an estimated $1.89 billion. This is expected to break the $4 billion barrier by 2025, thanks to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.01per cent between 2020 and 2025.
One of the main reasons behind the surge of gamers in India is the country’s demographic. With one of the largest youth populations on the planet, it’s no surprise that the next generation are attracted to all forms of online gaming. It’s also fair to say that India’s middle class is widening by the year, with more disposable income giving gamers a chance to create their own unique gaming environments at home or on the move.
The proliferation of smartphone and tablet devices has seen the mobile gaming subsector thrive. GroupM states that India has almost 700 million unique subscribers to smartphone deals. It’s therefore unsurprising that India boasts the highest mobile data consumption rate worldwide, averaging 12GB per user each month. This is due largely to the evolution of a casual mobile gaming community throughout the country.
Mobile gaming keeps friends and family connected, even if they live hundreds of miles apart in the subcontinent. It’s possible to arrange private games, played in real time between you and your loved ones. All that’s needed is a reliable 4G or Wi-Fi connection. It could be a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, where you work together as part of a team collective. Alternatively, you might play online poker together to enjoy the thrill of competition, with a host of play money poker apps available to Indian gamers as well as real-money alternatives.
India: The new global hotbed for gaming development
In terms of gaming options, Indian gamers are increasingly spoilt for choice. Thanks to the country’s well-established IT industry, the gaming marketplace has rapidly attracted more gaming developers to the subcontinent. Mordor Intelligence claims the number of online game developers stood at just 25 in 2010. By 2019, that figure had grown more than tenfold to 275.
With a plethora of gaming development talent throughout India, it’s no surprise that the country’s gamers have taken competitive gaming to their hearts. EY estimates that just 4per cent of online and mobile games available on the Google Play Store derive from India-based publishers. However, EY’s report notes a significant shift from social titles to multiplayer titles that are well-suited to the country’s accelerating demand for esports.
The last 18 months has seen the dawn of a new era for eSports in the subcontinent. The size of the Indian market was already estimated at Rs3 billion by the end of last year, with EY anticipating continued growth to Rs11 billion by the end of 2025. Some 17 million viewers tune in across India to watch the biggest eSports tournaments worldwide, as well as those domestically like the All India Esports League. That figure is also set to grow to 85 million by 2025.
The country already has a non-profit organization focused on maintaining and enhancing the eSports ecosystem in India. The Electronic Sports Federation of India (ESFI) has become a full member of the International Esports Federation (IESF), as well as the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) and the Global Esports Federation (GEF). It’s clear that online gaming is already a serious business in India and it’s only just warming up.